Autonomous Vehicles Blog

Driving the Future

We reported last year that Florida had created a legal framework in an attempt to motivate companies to test their AVs in the Sunshine State. This past year has seen further efforts on the part of lawmakers – and these efforts appear to already have borne fruit. On July 1, 2019, a new law went into effect in Florida that allows AVs to operate on public roads without anyone behind the wheel. The new law…
This is the final post in a five-part weekly series reviewing the legal landscape for transit employers considering automation.  Please click here to see the prior post in this series. The previous installment in our series on labor law issues for the transit employer considering automation discussed the Federal Transit Act.  That Act, in part, requires advance notice of proposed changes that may result in the dismissal or displacement of employees, or rearrangement of the…
Employee Protections Under the Federal Transit Act – What Transit Employers Need to Know This is the fourth post in a five-part weekly series reviewing the legal landscape for transit employers considering automation.  Please click here to see the prior post in this series. As part of our series on labor law issues for the transit employer considering automation, we turn now to the Federal Transit Act.   In order to acquire, improve or operate…
A Transit Employer’s Duty to Bargain Over Automation: Potential Subjects of Bargaining This is the third post in a five-part weekly series reviewing the legal landscape for transit employers considering automation.  Please click here to see the prior post in this series.  Last week, we introduced the duty of transit systems to bargain with labor unions over the decision to implement automation, robotics or artificial intelligence and over the effects of such a decision.  That…
This is the second post in a five-part weekly series reviewing the legal landscape for transit employers considering automation.  Please click here to see the prior post in this series. When a transit authority considers automation, a duty to bargain with labor over the decision to automate and a duty to bargain over the effects of the decision may arise.  The source of the duty may be one of three types of labor laws that…
This is the first post in a five-part weekly series reviewing the legal landscape for transit employers considering automation.  The series will address relevant statutes, the effects of existing collective bargaining agreements, the subjects over which an employer may be required to bargain, and steps an employer can take now to better position itself to automate. Autonomous vehicle technology has reached a place where certain technologies are market-ready or readily adaptable to transit operations, and…
In the world of automation, companies must take care to not forget about worker safety.  Planning for worker safety while planning for automation helps the transition for both.  In planning for worker safety, there are a few key areas to keep in mind. Education and training for employees working around robots or other automated equipment is an important first step.  Employees must understand their new roles as it pertains to automated equipment.  Employees should be…
Traditional automakers and large tech companies continue to acquire AV-tech startups as competition for key personnel, proprietary technology, and AV data increases. As the AV industry continues to consolidate, traditional auto makers and tech companies will need to continue to conduct thorough due diligence during the acquisition phase. Moreover, they will need to have policies and procedures in place to protect trade secrets and confidential information, while ensuring that any potential acquisition target has properly…
Federal Funding Opportunity for Transit Buses Provides Reminder to Keep Labor Concerns in Mind The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently announced an opportunity to apply for up to $85 million in competitive grant funds through FTA’s Low or No Emission (Low-No) Bus Program.  The program provides funding for the purchase or lease of Low-No buses that use advanced technologies.  Eligible projects also include construction of facilities and related equipment to…
According to a recent study, people with darker skin are more likely to be hit by autonomous vehicles than people with lighter skin. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology concluded that object detection systems of the type used in autonomous vehicles had uniformly poorer performance when detecting pedestrians with darker skin types.  The study used the Fitzpatrick skin type scale, which was introduced to measure a number of physical attributes (such as hair…