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Marchant article on autonomous vehicles published in Law Review


March 06, 2013

An article entitled, “The Coming Collision Between Autonomous Vehicles and the Liability System,” by ASU Regents’ Professor Gary Marchant, has been published in the Santa Clara Law Review. The article was co-authored by Rachel Lindor (MD/JD, Class of 2011), a former Research Director at the College of Law’s Center for Law, Science & Innovation.

The article was generated by the participation of Marchant, the Center’s Faculty Director, in the 2012 Santa Clara Law Review Symposium, “Driving the Future: The Legal Implications of Autonomous Vehicles.”

Autonomous vehicles are a new generation of vehicles under development that are capable of operating on roads without direct human control. A critical factor, according to Marchant and Lindor, regarding the feasibility of such vehicles is how often crashes will occur and how severe they will be. If greater than standard vehicles, they will not be legally viable for widespread use, the authors predict. However, they note, if autonomous vehicles reduce the frequency and/or severity of collisions, liability will remain an important and potentially limiting consideration for manufacturers.

“Autonomous vehicles will increase the safety of vehicle travel by reducing vehicle collisions,” Marchant and Lindor conclude. “Ironically, autonomous vehicles are likely to increase the liability exposure of vehicle manufacturers. Autonomous vehicles will shift the responsibility for avoiding accidents from the driver to the vehicle manufacturer.”

To read the article, click here.

Marchant’s research interests include the use of genetic information in environmental regulation, risk and the precautionary principle, legal aspects of personalized medicine, and regulation of emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, neuroscience and biotechnology. He teaches courses in Environmental Law, Law, Science & Technology, Genetics and the Law, Biotechnology: Science, Law and Policy, and Nanotechnology Law & Policy. Marchant is Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law and Ethics, Senior Sustainability Scientist in the ASU Global Institute of Sustainability, and a professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences.