Sven Beiker, Jan Becker, and I organized a workshop around the legal and policy hurdles to autonomous driving. The workshop was hosted by the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford (CARS). It featured discussions of liability, privacy, human-car interfaces, and the role of government. The workshop resulted in a working group that includes industry and academia. You can download the one-pager here (PDF). Excerpt below.
While fully autonomous driving (all driving tasks performed by the vehicle without driver interaction) presents the long-term research vision, “advanced driver assistance systems” (e.g. adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance) already exist today. Next generation systems with higher degree of autonomy are currently being developed and will be released soon (e.g. automated parking, automated highway driving, etc.).
The workshop attendees from automotive industry, consumer organizations, law firms, government agencies, and academia assessed the situation of autonomous driving in both engineering and law. A consensus emerged that autonomous driving has tremendous potential to improve safety, efficiency, and mobility. However, policies are needed to establish a legal framework for the use of autonomous vehicles in traffic, and there is a clear need to engage in consumer and policy-maker education about the potential benefits of autonomous vehicles. Therefore, a process to develop public policies in conjunction with the evolving technologies is needed in the short term.