Steven Moe, Partner, recently released a white paper co-written with Mitchell L. Gingrich of Autonomous Consulting on the future of autonomous vehicles.
In 1478 Leonardo Da Vinci designed a self-propelled cart that could be considered the forerunner of modern autonomous vehicles (AVs). Although he never built the cart, engineers have demonstrated that Da Vinci’s design was operable. From our 21st Century vantage point the car has become an appliance, but at one time it was a novelty, not unlike Da Vinci’s cart. The dawn of the automobile required new laws because the automobile, along with offering the ability to cover vast areas at ever-increasing speeds, represented a threat to public safety.
Modern-day automotive and software engineers are busily developing AVs that they intend to operate on our public roads. The dawn of the autonomous era will transform the automobile back into a novelty and this new iteration presents unique 21st Century threats to public safety.
Often overlooked in analysing the bumps in the road to the future utilisation of AVs’ is a coherent and technologically savvy regulatory framework. Lawmakers are reaching for answers to permitting and regulating the operation of AVs on our public roads and lawmakers seem to lack the skillsets needed to address the legal issues arising in the AV sector.
With experience in law and the autonomous vehicle industry, Steven Moe and Mitchell Gingrich outline the development of AVs and set out a roadmap for how New Zealand can play a significant role in catalysing the autonomous vehicle sector. They propose a slate of eight recommendations for how New Zealand can contribute to the advance of autonomous vehicles through an agile and coherent regulatory framework that promotes the safe testing and commercialisation of autonomous vehicles in New Zealand and beyond.
One advance reader had this to say:
Most, if not all, of our current options for transporting goods and people, will be consigned to museums in 50 years and replaced by various forms of AV. These will be complex, technologically ‘dense’ machines, as they will require advanced engineering, design, and manufacture. A few of the hurdles preventing mass production and adoption of AVs are technological, but the majority are legal, regulatory and attitudinal. These issues will be overcome in time, but not without a concerted and coordinated plan of action. Steven and Mitchell’s paper constitutes a very useful addition to the literature and should be used to catalyse discussions around the future of AVs in Canterbury and New Zealand. We must push hard to be in the global vanguard with respect to the design, manufacture, testing, and adoption of these vehicles.