Perkins Coie’s Inaugural Autonomous Vehicle Survey Shows Industry Leaders Want Consistent Regulation to Dispel Consumer Safety Concerns

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The most critical driver for consumers’ adoption of autonomous vehicles,
above technological advancement and adequate investment, is coherent
national regulation amid consumer safety concerns. That’s according to a
new survey of automotive and technology leaders and state and federal
regulators by global law firm Perkins Coie LLP and the Association for
Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the world’s largest
nonprofit organization devoted to advancing the unmanned systems and
robotics community.

Those surveyed clearly see the potential to increase convenience and
reduce traffic incidents that stem from further development of
autonomous vehicle technology. And while survey respondents are focused
firmly on consumers’ perceptions regarding safety, no clear majority of
respondents agree on which regulatory authority should be responsible
for overseeing liability issues amid the current patchwork of federal,
state and local rules.

“The emergence of any new technology requires adaptation of existing
regulatory regimes,” said William G. Malley, Office Managing Partner for
Perkins Coie in Washington, D.C. “The same is true with automated
vehicles. Regulators at every level will need to rethink and update
existing requirements. In the long run, smart regulation can help to
facilitate the development and deployment of this new technology by
providing regulatory certainty and helping to reinforce the public’s
confidence in the new technology.”

Liability and Consumer Perception Top Challenges

Liability concerns ranked first among the challenges that industry
leaders and regulators believe could impede the driverless-car market,
just slightly ahead of consumers’ safety perceptions. Respondents also
see an urgent need for infrastructure, such as smart signs, traffic
lights and merge lanes, to make roads shared by fully autonomous,
semi-autonomous and traditional cars safe for everyone.

“You don’t see liability issues go through the courts until you have
already had an accident,” said Daniel P. Ridlon, Co-Chair of Perkins
Coie’s Unmanned Vehicle Systems Industry group. “Participants in our
survey from across the spectrum of industry and regulatory insiders
understand this, telling us in a variety of ways that safety and product
liability risk are principally important and closely related. They also
recognize how both issues can affect consumer sentiment, impacting the
industry well beyond the immediate costs related to lawsuits.”

Investment Opportunities Abound

With the market for driverless cars projected to grow to as large as $7
trillion by 2050, respondents see multiple investment opportunities as
equally attractive and urgent. Vehicle-to-vehicle and
vehicle-to-infrastructure communication technology, 5G technology and
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems were seen as the most enticing
investments, followed closely by precision mapping and location
technology.

“This survey shows a young industry with tremendous potential and
understandable growing pains as technology shapes the future of
transportation,” said Brian Wynne, President and CEO of AUVSI.
“Lawmakers, consumers and regulators alike should embrace the advantages
of the future AV era as we work to resolve early-cycle challenges in the
years ahead.”

Other Key Survey Findings

  • A majority – 54 percent – of industry respondents said they would
    rather see regulation come from the federal level. This reflects the
    difficulty automakers anticipate in achieving widespread adoption of
    AVs without a broad and coherent regulatory framework.
  • All survey respondents – technology and automotive executives as well
    as regulators – saw the possibility of reducing vehicle accidents as
    the most important benefit of AVs. More survey respondents selected
    reduced traffic accidents as the greatest benefit to consumers than
    all other options combined.
  • Respondents believe the price of investment, behind safety concerns,
    is one of the top obstacles to the growth of the AV industry with
    those in technology fields considering investment costs the most
    worrisome obstacle.

To view the complete Perkins Coie and AUVSI 2019 Autonomous Vehicle
Survey report, please visit: www.perkinscoie.com/AVSurvey2019.

Perkins Coie LLP

With more than 1,000 lawyers in 19 offices across the United States
and in Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei, Perkins Coie represents great
companies across a wide range of industries and stages of growth. Using
our deep knowledge of technology and transportation markets, we
represent companies operating in the connected and autonomous vehicle
space, including companies focused on non-traditional transportation
solutions, electric vehicles, self-driving cars and the sharing economy.
We also partner with and strategically advise industry players,
including those in IoT automation, on a wide spectrum of legal issues.
Our clients include established technology companies, original equipment
manufacturers and Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, as well as emerging
growth and startup companies in the autonomous vehicle industry.

Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI),
the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement
of unmanned systems and robotics, represents corporations and
professionals from more than 60 countries involved in industry,
government and academia. AUVSI members work in the defense, civil and
commercial markets.