Survey and Framework Development for Legal and Regulatory Issues Arising from Automated Vehicle Technologies


Daniel Crane, JD
Associate Dean, Faculty and Research; Frederick Paul Furth, Sr. Professor of Law, U-M Law School


May 2015 – April 2016


Kyle Logue, JD
Douglas A Kahn Collegiate Professor and Professor of Law, U-M Law School

Bryce Pilz, JD
Director of Licensing, U-M Office of Technology Transfer


Conduct a comprehensive survey of the legal and regulatory issues posed by automated vehicle technologies with input from academic and industry leaders.  Topics to be surveyed include liability, insurance, privacy, IP rights, and antitrust implications of standardization, and others that may be identified in the course of the project.


Three phases:

  1. Hire law students to identify key academics and industry leaders already working on relevant issues.
  2. A daylong conference convening leading experts from academia and industry.  A draft report would be released in advance of the conference with initial findings.
  3. Finalization and publication of the report in light of learning from the conference and any follow-up research projects resulting from the conference.


  • Much has changed between NHTSA’s 2013 and 2016 Statements. The federal government is more involved (promoting uniformity; interpreting FMVSS’s; liability protections)
  • Early state regulations, such as the draft regulations from California in December 2015, may serve gating function and impact how technology comes to market.
  • There will be an evolving contractual model for the supply chain has new firms enter the supply chain and existing companies assume new roles.
  • Cybersecurity presents new risks (private causes of action)
    • “Intervening causes doctrine” will have great impact on liability
  • An integrated CAV system will present management and operational risks.
    • NHTSA’s V2V readiness report rationale for risks being tolerable needs reexamination
  • Existing insurance models will evolve.
  • There will be heightened emphasis on tort liability models related to component part supplier liability; aftermarket parts liability; SSO liability; automated warning systems; joint liability.
  • NHTSA cannot mandate everything so questions related to gov. immunity and how to incentive private activity will be important.
  • The findings identified several areas for future exploration by MTC researchers and the Legal, Liability, and Insurance WG.
  • The project established key relationships between UM, MTC, and non-MTC academic and industry thought leaders.
  • The findings will be published and have already been recognized as a valuable contribution to the literature on CAVs.