John McNelis, co-chair of Fenwick’s autonomous transportation and shared mobility practice, talked to Protocol about which regulatory changes would have the biggest impact on the autonomous vehicles space.
According to McNelis, allowing the charging of fees for transporting members of the public will have a large impact on the development of autonomous vehicle technology and on the expansion of the industry.
“Given the prohibitive cost of individual ownership, the early use of autonomous vehicles will be robo-taxis (self-driving taxis),” McNelis told Protocol.
“The autonomous vehicle industry will expand significantly when states allow companies to charge fees for transporting members of the public since the ability to generate revenue will entice more companies to expedite their research and development to develop a working robo-taxi,” he added.
Clarification of liability issues is another regulatory change McNelis believes will significantly impact the industry.
“While owners of vehicles will continue to need insurance for claims against failing to maintain the vehicle, mere passengers who have no control over the operation of the vehicle should not need insurance,” McNelis said. He explained that with more certainty around this, manufacturers will be able to build in liability costs when pricing vehicles.
The full article is available on Protocol.