/* ---- SITEIMPROVE ----*/

Autonomous Vehicle Law

The latest news and analysis surrounding the intersection of the autonomous vehicle industry and the law, from Baker Donelson.

VW Charting Independent Course to Putting AVs on the Market by the Mid-2020s

Volkswagen recently announced the creation of a subsidiary called Volkswagen Autonomy (VWAT) to focus on making “market-ready” autonomous vehicles. We’ve previously blogged about OEMs collaborating in the AV space, such as the tie-up between Ford and VW, but it appears that with VWAT, VW is looking to chart an independent course towards producing AVs with a goal of having them on the market by the middle of the next decade. read more…

Autonomous Vehicles Drive Demand for Puncture-Resistant Tires

Solid, airless tires preceded today’s pneumatic tires but were replaced by radial tires for better ride comfort. With the advent of autonomous vehicles, interest in airless tires is resuming. Today’s cars spend the majority of their days idle. Autonomous vehicles will spend most of their days in motion (and hopefully without a driver to check on the tires) and thus the necessity for a breakdown-proof tire becomes a priority. Michelin pioneered the technology in 2005 on a wheelchair, and they were commercially launched in 2012, but in limited-use cases such as lawnmowers and golf carts, and construction machinery, all of which have higher puncture risks. read more…

Lexus to Launch All-Electric Vehicle in 2020 with Autonomous Highway Driving, Issues Remain

Lexus announced its first-ever all-electric vehicle recently at the Tokyo Motor Show. Toyota (Lexus’s parent company) has made no secret about investing in AVs, but has been slower than some of its competitors. We recently blogged about Toyota’s tie-up with Subaru to collaborate on AVs. With the forthcoming Level 2 autonomous vehicle, and in light of recent notable accidents involving AVs, Lexus is continuing its deliberate thought process on launching AVs. The new vehicle will be able to operate on highways, from entrance ramps to off ramps, with traffic merging capabilities, according to Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Tomoyama. read more…

First OEM Level 2 Autonomous Trucks Are Being Deployed

Firm client Covenant Transportation has recently added Level 2 autonomous trucks. The Freightliner Cascadia has electronic steering, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind-spot warning, pedestrian warning, collision avoidance, intelligent high beams and active brake assist. The “Detroit Assurance” system in the truck collects, shares and validates safety-related information by tracking up to 40 objects simultaneously up to 660 feet away and reporting information about six vehicles in the truck’s path – their distance, velocity, width, lateral offset, type and confidence level – while the Video Radar Decision Unit (VRDU) refreshes the speed, distance, and time calculations 200 times per second. read more…

Another Alliance Forms in the AV Space

At the ADAS & Autonomous Vehicles USA conference in Detroit on September 25, I spoke about some previously unusual alliances being formed in the car industry to tackle AVs, such as those between Ford and VW, Mercedes and BMW, and several heavy truck manufacturers. And now, we have another one. On September 27, 2019, Japanese carmakers Toyota and Subaru announced a “new business and capital alliance” to develop what they are calling “CASE” (connected, autonomous/automated, shared, and electric) vehicles. The two companies had previously announced a joint venture to develop battery electric vehicles using Subaru’s all-wheel drive technology (which is on all Subaru vehicles) and Toyota’s vehicle electrification technologies. read more…

Preparing for Connected and Automated Vehicles: Testing, Validation and Certification

Tom Brewer, CEO/President of Intelligent Mobility Planning, LLC and long-time expert in automotive matters in Tennessee, offers the below thoughts on the status of vehicle testing. Baker Donelson has been fortunate to work on a project with Mr. Brewer, and we are very impressed with the depth of his knowledge.

As connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technology races toward reality, there is an equal (if not greater) number of issues to address concerning safety, liability, infrastructure and cybersecurity. These issues are beginning to be defined and developed through testing, validation and certification (TV&C) protocols by numerous entities (Academic / Industry / Government Agencies) in the U.S. and worldwide. read more…

The Modern MASS-T Head: The Rise and Reality of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships

Of modern standers-of-mast-heads we have but a lifeless set; mere stone, iron, and bronze men; who, though well capable of facing out a stiff gale, are still entirely incompetent to the business of singing out upon discovering any strange sight.

MOBY DICK, Chap. XXXV. “THE MAST-HEAD”

While driverless terrestrial vehicles have been a hot topic in the media and the blogosphere (including on this blog) – from Tesla autopilot crashes to self-driving freight trucks – there has been an equally (if not more) anticipated and analyzed trend (some would say nascent revolution) in the less popularly publicized international maritime vessel operations: the rise of autonomous vessel technologies on the world’s oceans, rivers, and harbors. The term of art for these autonomous vessels – “maritime autonomous surface ships,” “MASS” for short – is ironically cognate with the very vessel “MASters” that autonomous technology would stand to replace.

The initial forays into the possibilities of autonomous vessel technologies began (more or less) with Rolls-Royce just into the second decade of the 2000s. Since then the concept has been put to numerous actual proofs by Rolls-Royce and others, and it is safe to say that it is now not a matter of if or even when MASS technology enters the market, but rather the extent to which MASS technology will disrupt traditional global shipping and vessel operations. And while the technical advances have been steadily developing in the hands of engineers, regulators have been attempting to keep pace with the legal ramifications of MASS. read more…

Florida Opens Its Roads to Driverless Vehicles

On June 13, Florida enacted legislation allowing cars without human drivers to begin operating on its roads. While Michigan and Texas also allow cars without human drivers to some degree, Florida has gone one step further, by prohibiting local regulations that differ from state law, essentially making all of Florida’s roads fair game for testing AVs. read more…