Virginia may not be a state many people associate with autonomous technology, but it has quickly become an attractive locale for developers of this technology. Several autonomous technology companies have recently seen great advancements in the implementation of their technology in Virginia. WING, for example, a sister company of Google, recently celebrated its first successful aviation delivery of commercial products in Christiansburg, Virginia. The company, which has partnered with Walgreens and FedEx, uses drones to deliver packages to the community. Aurora Flight Sciences, an independent subsidiary of Boeing, similarly completed its first test flight of its autonomous passenger air vehicle prototype in Manassas, Virginia earlier this year. In addition, San Francisco based LM Industries deployed a self-driving vehicle, Ollie, at Fort Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington earlier this year, and Optimus Ride, a Boston-based self-driving tech company, has deployed autonomous shuttles in Reston, where more than 15,000 rides have already been completed.  Continue Reading Preparing Now for the Road Ahead

The automotive industry has long been a global market where manufacturers need to constantly monitor international laws and regulations. But as traditional automotive OEMs expand their product offerings to include services such as ride hailing, car sharing, and mapping, the legal risks are becoming increasingly localized.

Cities, states, and provinces have begun to flex their muscle in response to the introduction of new mobility products and services. New York city has placed a cap on the number of vehicles for ride-hailing platforms and will institute congestion pricing in early 2021. Los Angeles has created a tool for data collection and monitoring of private mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) companies. Peer-to-peer car sharing companies that compete with traditional rent-a-car agencies have challenged laws requiring them to pay local rental fees. And mapping services have been forced to navigate legal concerns over which local streets they can route users through.  Continue Reading Localization of the Mobility Economy

Currently, nearly all advanced automotive technologies operate under what are known as deterministic models. In a deterministic system, the outcome is dictated by a set of known initial conditions. These systems offer welcome predictability and repeatability. In contrast, probabilistic models yield different outcomes given the same initial condition, introducing an element of probability guided randomness. The latter model is considered necessary for autonomous vehicle functionality, but this is easier said than done.

Each model type has pros and cons. For starters, in the area of advanced automotive technologies, programming a deterministic model is more manageable. For example, automatic emergency braking systems are generally calibrated to recognize the rear of a preceding vehicle and apply braking when that vehicle slows and a crash is imminent. But how would that same system respond to a boulder rolling onto the roadway in the path of an equipped vehicle? The deterministic model is not well-suited for a curveball like this. The driver wants the same outcome – braking assistance – but the system only recognizes a certain set of predetermined conditions that do not include rolling boulders.  Continue Reading Our Expectations for Advanced Vehicle Technologies are Outpacing the Technology

With the growth of the automotive loan market, which just this month has been the subject of examination by national publications such as the Wall Street Journal, has come a corresponding rise in auto loan delinquencies.  For automotive finance companies, auto repossessions represent a risk for affirmative claims by consumers both on an individual and, more significantly, on a class basis.  Recently, there has been an uptick in class actions against automotive finance companies alleging technical violations of state and federal law governing repossessions. 

In theory, auto repossessions should be a fairly simple process.  In all states, repossessions of autos that were purchased by way of a Retail Sales Installment Contract are subject to Article 9 of the UCC governing secured transactions, and in every state except for Louisiana, leases are subject to Article 2A of the UCC governing leases of personal property. But some states have enacted additional requirements, which can be found in the states’ various retail installment sales acts, automotive financing acts, or other consumer protection statutes. As explained below, uniform disclosure requirements combined with varying state laws creates the potential for class litigation.  Continue Reading Trend Analysis: Rise in Automotive Repossession Class Actions