Artificial intelligence (AI) influences every aspect of our daily lives, and automobiles are no exception. In recent years, automated driving systems have seen significant innovation, based on the development of information technology. Vehicles with automated braking and lane-keeping systems are already on the market, while government and industry aim to develop these features even further.
The development of an automated driving system may require the reform of existing legal statutes relating to automobile driving, which have, to date, rested on the assumption that a human driver operates an automobile under his or her own responsibility. We must consider not only administrative regulations such as the Road Traffic Act, but also laws and regulations regarding criminal and civil liability. Unfortunately, in comparison to the rapid advancement in the technology, little has yet been done in terms of having a look at improving the legislation for automated driving. This book is the work of a joint effort by academic researchers and practitioners who analyze the legal system’s approach to automated driving from various perspectives.
The book is divided into two parts: Part I “The State of Automated Driving Today,” which explains the current development of automated driving , and Part II “Automated Driving and the Legal System: Accidents and Compensation,” which examines interpretation of the current law as applied to automated driving, and its possible revision.
The first chapter in Part I, “The Present State of Automated Driving Technology,” explains the technology behind automated driving, as well as where it stands now, and where it is likely to progress in the future. Chapter 2 “The Current Status of Examination on the Law Regarding Automated Driving” gives an overview of how legislation is being examined in Japan and around the world. The third chapter, “Automated Driving under German Law,” considers how Germany has revised their laws on the liability of automobile accidents with regard to automated driving, while the fourth chapter, “Automated Driving under the U.S. Law,” assesses legislation trends in the U.S. around the responsibility of drivers and automobile manufacturers in the event of accident.
Part II tackles how the legal system deals with automated driving. Chapter 1 “Regulatory Issues Surrounding Automated Driving” examines what kinds of modifications to administrative regulations including traffic rules and safety regulations are required because of automated driving. Study of this issue is urgently required, as practical application of the technology becomes difficult or even impossible if regulations are not revised in accordance with the technology’s development.
The rest of the book covers civil liability for accidents. Part II: Chapter 2 “The Liability of Automobile Operators with Respect to Automated Driving” discusses liability under the Act on Securing Compensation for Automobile Accidents, while Chapter 3 “The Liability of Automobile Dealers and Manufacturers with Respect to Automated Driving” reviews the Product Liability Act and what responsibility automobile dealers and manufacturers may face under Civil Code. The fourth chapter, “Allotting the Liability Among Multiple Parties,” builds on the second chapter in discussing what happens when multiple parties bear liability (including comparative negligence, claims for damages, etc.). Chapter 5 “The Computerization of Automobiles and Civil Liability” analyzes the legal positions of both the information/software application providers and recipients. The sixth chapter, “Automated Driving and Insurance” explores how insurance might deal with the risk of accidents. In conclusion, Chapter 7 “The Future of Civil Liability Law and Automated Driving” assesses what legislative issues might come to be faced if automated driving someday progresses to a more advanced point.
(Written by Tomotaka Fujita, Professor of Graduate Schools for Law and Politics / 2019)