The prospect of self-driving vehicles operating on our roadways brings with it both promise and risks. One of the most prominent risks is ensuring that an appropriate regulatory scheme is in place to permit manufacturers to test and deploy self-driving cars on public roadways while minimizing safety threats to the public. Currently, self-driving cars are operating under a regulatory framework designed for vehicles driven by humans. Legislative proposals have been put forth to remove barriers and adjust the present self-certification model of compliance to fit self-driving cars. This Note explores the current state of the regulatory system for self-driving cars and legislative proposals to change it. It argues that a type approval process, similar to the practice used by the Federal Aviation Administration for aircraft, would serve as a useful regulatory model to ensure public safety without constraining innovation.
Spencer A. Mathews, When Rubber Meets the Road: Balancing Innovation and Public Safety in the Regulation of Self-Driving Cars, 61 B.C.L. Rev. 295 (2020), https://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol61/iss1/7