Regulators and policymakers are playing an increasingly large role in making decisions about public policy and the regulation of automated vehicles (AVs). AVs are more than a vehicle with a camera and a hands-free steering wheel; AVs are a transformative technology. They promise to change the traditional paradigms of mobility, road safety, communication technologies, and conceptions of privacy, as well as challenge ethical norms and change the way humans interact with robots.
The technical, social, and economic complexities of automated vehicles have resulted in highly specialized silos of expertise. Specifically, the subject engages experts on AI, privacy, telecommunications, infrastructure, and standardization bodies, as well as car manufacturers and electrical engineers. However, these seemingly disparate fields have often failed to cohesively communicate across disciplines. Consequently, policymakers may have difficulty both understanding the full extent of the opportunities and challenges of AV technology, and prioritizing between the most effective policy actions.
Understanding the key technological aspects of AVs could help policymakers with this information asymmetry problem between technology experts and policymakers. These technology insights will enable policymakers to make sense of the ongoing technical discussions and build synergies among the isolated sectors and territories.
This policy primer explores these key technological dimensions of AVs, giving an inclusive, high-level view of AV technology, and presents five essential elements policymakers should know. It intends to inform regulators and policymakers, bridging information asymmetries between policymakers and technologists. It also aims at expanding policymakers’ governance toolbox to help policymakers create more effective policies and regulations.