Driverless cars pose legal challenges, Marchant tells MSNBC

Adding new meaning to the phrase, “Look, ma, no hands,” driverless vehicles currently being developed may post significant legal challenges to society, according to ASU Regents’ Professor Gary Marchant, who recently spoke about the issue with MSNBC reporter Eric Niiler.

In the June 12 article, “Future of driverless cars faces legal roadblocks,” Marchant predicted there will be an interesting transition to a transportation system with technology alone behind the wheel. The cars will have the capability of taking you where you want to go without you pumping the brakes or cranking the steering wheel.

“Autonomous cars will reduce the number of accidents, and safety will be a huge driver, but the liability will shift to the manufacturer,” said Marchant, faculty director of the Center for Law, Science & Innovation at the College of Law. “They will be the one on the hook.”

Automakers in the United States are developing these cars, but drivers in other countries that have more progressive legal and liability structures may own them first, he said.

“Unfortunately, we are developing this technology,” Marchant said, “but we may not be the first to deploy it.”

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