There is much talk of forward-looking mobility concepts at the moment and all of them have one thing in common, namely automated/autonomous steering, with the human driver/pilot being successively displaced by computers. Automated/autonomous driving is much more than just an idea when it comes to how we see ourselves moving around in future – these technologies are developing apace and some are already market-ready, not only for road traffic, but also for other means of transporting people and goods, e.g. by shuttle, train, ship or plane.
The technical challenges apart, legal underpinning is vital at every stage of the process from inception to completion if these projects are to be successful. The reason being that a regulatory roadmap is needed to set the limits and requirements for these systems, and new developments need to be approved before they can come to market. In addition to that, manufacturers will find themselves confronted with a whole raft of issues to do with liability and product compliance.
As one of the leading law firms acting on behalf of the automotive sector, we have been at the coalface, so to speak, since day one and have already seen many a project through to a successful conclusion. For example, we prepare the contracts between suppliers, manufacturers and service providers, map out long-term data protection concepts (e.g. for communication between networked means of transport) and assess the products in question with an eye to the important aspects of approval, safety and liability. These include, among other things, the obligations incumbent on providers of modern forms of mobility when it comes to product implementation and surveillance. These are a central pillar for guaranteeing the safety of all automated and autonomous systems.
Besides the product liability aspect, we also examine liability issues in connection with new forms of mobility from the point of view of the structuring options offered by civil law, dealing with shifting liability, and the insurability of risks. Last but not least, we are also able to offer advice on all the criminal, public-law and antitrust issues around forward-looking, usually data-based, mobility concepts. Because mobility usually doesn’t stop at borders, we also deal with all product-related and regulatory questions in an international context.