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A podcast that analyzes legal issues surrounding autonomous vehicles.


Show Me the Money! Corporate News Takes a Star Turn

Belying whispers of a slowdown in the autonomous vehicle industry – with doubters suggesting that AV’s potential had been oversold and the difficulty of execution underestimated –several news stories about AV companies caught our eye last week. Host Zach Adams, a litigator at Tucker Ellis, and Tucker Ellis corporate and transactional lawyer Tod Northman discuss the latest news to illustrate the trends they are seeing in the industry. In short, money continues to pour into the best companies as competitors vie for talent and technology leadership to realize the commercial potential of driverless transportation.

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Amazon Invests in Driverless Startup Aurora, Valued at More Than $2 Billion, Wall Street Journal (February 7, 2019) (Tim Higgins author)

Aurora cofounder and CEO Chris Urmson on the company’s new investor, Amazon, and much more

GM factory workers get $10,750 in profit sharing; company earnings slip, Detroit Free Press (February 6, 2019), (Jamie L. LaReau author)

GM's incentive plan for Cruise chief points to IPO: SEC filing, Reuters (February 6, 2019), (Ben Klayman author)

Investing in the Future of Transportation, Aurora Raises over $530 million, February 7, 2019 (Aurora Team author)

Maturing Industry Landscape Reshapes Autonomous Vehicle Transactions, Helpful Mechanic (November 7, 2018) (Tod Northman author)

Nuro Raises $940M From SoftBank Vision Fund For Robot Delivery

One Reason Staffers Quit Google's Car Project? The Company Paid Them So Much, Bloomberg (February 13, 2017) (Allistair Barr and Mark Bergen authors)

Self-driving truck startup Ike raises $52 million (February 5, 2019) Ike Raises (Kirsten Korosec author)

Bonus coverage on Ike: Kevin Zhang, of lead investor Bain Capital, on Twitter

Show Notes
1:15 GM and GM Cruise are investing smartly
3:30 GM Cruise’s compensation strategy
5:20 Parallels between GM Cruise and
5: 50 Digging into investments in GM Cruise
11:50 Form factor for EV and AV – Where are the trucks?
13:55 Tesla strings together profitable quarters
17:37 Tesla acquires Maxwell Technologies
21:18 Tesla shrinks its workforce but draws muted reaction
23:18 Aurora raises $530 billion in a Series B
24:30 Amazon jumps into autonomous vehicles
28:35 Ike – which is pursuing driverless commercial trucking – raises money to add talent

9 - CES2019 AssessmentContext for a Low-Key Las Vegas Experience

Although buzz is growing that the autonomous vehicle industry has fallen into Gartner’s Trough of Disillusionment, roll outs and technical improvements have continued apace. Host Zach Adams, litigator Jon Feczko and transactional lawyer Tod Northman discuss the state of the AV industry through the prism of the CES 2019 experience. They cover everything from the most eye-catching concept vehicles to the timeline for rolling out autonomous vehicles.

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Autonomous Driving Fuels Our CES 2019 Public and Private Company Takeaways (January 23, 2019) (Morningstar Equity Research)

5 Trends Emerge in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2018 (August 16, 2018) (Kasey Panetta contributor)

11 futuristic cars and vehicles to watch out for at CES 2019 (January 7, 2019) (Business Insider)

Honda is giving cars the ability to see around corners to avoid accidents, October 8, 2018, (AJ Dellinger author)

Nissan helps you see the invisible with new concept at CES, January 10, 2019, (Aaron Turpen author)

Partners for Automated Vehicle Education

PAVE Adds eight more members, (January 30, 2019)

Self-driving car sensor startups may soon detect the end of the road (January 23, 2019) (Joann Muller author)

Show Notes

1:30 Partners for Automated Vehicle Education

3:35 5G Rollout and Vehicle to Vehicle Communication

8:15 What is Level 2 Plus?

11:05 Space Age Form Factors

16:00 Garner Hype Cycle / Trough of Disillusionment

22:45 Pushing Back Against the Trough – Level 4 is Being Deployed

25:25 Adjusting Our Expectations For Level 5 Rollout

What Legal Standard Should Apply to Autonomous Vehicles?

Tucker Ellis product liability litigators Zach Adams and Jon Feczko are joined by Marc Hoag, a California lawyer, podcaster, entrepreneur and AV consultant, as they reason through the applicable legal standard, and related legal issues, for autonomous vehicles. Marc’s podcast “Autonomous Cars with Marc Hoag” is the number one search result in Google for autonomous vehicle podcasts. But it is the combination of Marc’s legal and engineering training with his knowledge of autonomous vehicles that makes him the perfect guest to talk through these matters with Zach and Jon.

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How Autonomous Vehicles Will Reshape Our Cities

In a wide-ranging discussion, that includes a fascinating history of failed transportation revolutions, host Zach Adams, intellectual property litigator Jay Campbell and business lawyer Tod Northman discuss how autonomous vehicles will change our cities. From pocket calculators to Segway, high hopes for technology have produced disappointment. From autonomous vehicles, to ride sharing, to electric scooters, there is a lot of publicity about – and tremendous money behind – the mobility revolution. Will this time be different?

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“~$1 Trillion of Real Estate Is On the Move,” January 2018 (Phil Levin author)

“Airports Cracked Uber and Lyft – Time For Cities to Take Note”, Nov. 20, 2018 (Aarian Marshall author)

“Cars and Second Order Consequences,” March 29, 2017 (Benedict Evans author)

“Minneapolis Moves to Eliminate Mandatory Parking,” Dec. 12, 2018 (Angie Schmitt author)

“No Parking Here”, January/February 2016 (Clive Thompson author)

“Segways Are Back (Sort Of),” August 30, 2018 (Jackie Endres author)

Show Notes

1:32 What changes will autonomous vehicles bring?

7:17 Past efforts have failed. Will this time be different?

11:09 The first signs of change in cities

13:45 As the need for parking spaces wanes, building shapes will change

17:24 First, second, and third order changes

18:46 AV further stresses the economics of mass transit

21:59 Follow the money

24:01 Challenges to AV implementation

No Such Thing As Bad Publicity?Tesla and Waymo Square Off

Tesla drew plenty of unwanted attention when a Model 3 was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol after a 7-mile “chase” with the ostensible driver asleep and inebriated.  Kudos to the safety officers for quick thinking to prevent a tragic end. But the incident sharpens the argument for those who believe that vehicles operating at SAE Level 2 and Level 3 of autonomy are inherently unsafe and highlights the role of robust driver monitoring.

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Waymo, by contrast, earned applause for its seamless launch of its “robot taxi fleet” – albeit with a safety driver behind the wheel.  Video of a test ride shows how impressive – and boring – a ride in Waymo One can be.  Host and litigator Zach Adams discusses these development with litigator Jon Feczko and transactional attorney Tod Northman.


Tesla owner attempts Autopilot defense during DUI stop,” (Timothy B. Lee author)

Waymo’s Ambitious Plans for High-Speed Taxis Could Be Holding It Back,”(Timothy B. Lee author)

When Will My Self-Driving Car Get Here?” (Editors)

Why Waymo’s Fleet of Self-Driving Cars Is Finally Ready for Prime Time” (Tom Vanderbilt author)

Tesla rejected more advanced driver monitoring features on its cars” (Sean O’Kane author)

Lack of ‘safeguards’ in Tesla's Autopilot contributed to fatal crash” (Zac Estrada author)

Riding in Waymo One, the Google spinoff’s first self-driving taxi service” (Andrew J. Hawkins author)

A Sleeping Driver Highlights Autopilot’s Biggest Flaw(Alex Davies author)

Show Notes

1:00 Tesla gets a DUI
5:02 Driver monitoring
9:35 Autopilot – Is the problem Tesla or Tesla drivers?
12:40 Level 2 and Level 3 have inherent safety risks
18:22 Emergency workers’ interactions with autonomous vehicles
29:07 Waymo One to other AV companies: “Your move”

GM Drops Sedans and PlantsDid AV Cause GM to Drop Sedans, Fire Workers, and Shutter Plants?

Notwithstanding five years of strong profits and anticipatable fiery backlash, GM announced plans to cut almost 15,000 jobs in North America and to end production at five North American plants. GM intends to drop passenger-cars from its lineup, including the Chevy Cruze, the newly redesigned Cadillac CT6, the Impala, and the Buick LaCrosse. The Company’s press release cited a plan to invest the saved costs in electric and self-driving vehicles. The Company also shifted Dan Amman from its president to chief executive officer of GM Cruise. Host Zach Adams, litigator Jon Feczko and business lawyer Tod Northman assess the ramifications of GM’s actions with particular emphasis on autonomous vehicles.

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Automakers face fight to stand out in driverless era, The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, Nov. 25, 2018 (Ian Thibodeau author)

Detroit Has Had It With Cars, Bloomsburg, Nov. 26, 2018 (Justin Fax author)

Ford Gets Left at the Lights by General Motors, Bloomsburg, Nov. 27, 2018 (Chris Bryant author)

General Motors is cutting 14,000 jobs and focusing on self-driving and electric vehicles, Vox, Nov. 26, 2018 (Aditi Shrikant author)

GM’s Plan to Cut Jobs and Plants Draws Fire From Trump, Others, WSJ, Nov. 26, 2018 (Mike Colias author)

GM just made a big behind-the-scenes move to boost robot cars, Detroit Free Press, Nov 29, 2018 (Jamie L LaReau author)

Show Notes

2:06    GM’s move mirrors the market for sales
5:55    Do sedans have a future?
9:38    Autonomous vehicles won’t look like cars today
17:15    Unintended consequences from autonomous vehicles

Columbus' Role in Reinventing MobilityAn Interview with Mark Patton, Vice President of Smart Columbus

Columbus muscled its way to the front of forward-thinking cities in 2016 when it stunned six other U.S. cities with much greater tech cred to win the Department of Transportation’s Smart Cities Challenge and be designated America’s Smart City. On this week’s episode, host Zach Adams speaks with Mark Patton, Vice President of the Smart Columbus initiative. Mark and Zach explore Columbus’ role in helping transform American cities, including a preview of Columbus’ downtown autonomous bus service, which will begin shuttling passengers in December 2018.

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Columbus aims to deliver more diversified and nimble transportation options by using data and a connected, complete network that supports healthy activity and a more attractive and sustainable urban form. Mark is a terrific guide to Smart Columbus’ impressive efforts.


Smart Columbus website

Columbus wins $50 million DoT Smart Cities Challenge, July 23, 2016, CNN Business Website (Heather Kelly and Matt McFarland authors)

Why Columbus Won the Smart City Challenge, June 23, 2016, Governing website (Daniel C. Vock author)

Show Notes

3:15 – Why Mark Moved to Columbus
5:02 – What is Smart Columbus
8:30 – Columbus’s Public-Private Partnership Fuels Its Win
12:31 – Electric Vehicles in Columbus
17:55 – What’s in Your Drive Train? ICE versus EV
20:20 – Autonomous Bus Service Hits Columbus
29:30 – Public-Private Partnership
31:15 – Smart City Grant
36:40– Growing Columbus’s Public Transit Options
39:40– Experiments in Micro Mobility
43:48– People Love Electric Scooters
46:45– Connected Vehicle Deployment
51:07– Challenges to Deploying Autonomous Vehicles

Thinking About Potential AV Litigation

Host and litigator Zach Adams, product liability attorney Jon Feczko and business and transactional attorney Tod Northman discuss what auto accident lawsuits will look like as autonomous vehicles start to share the roads with human-driven cars. In a wide-ranging conversation, each shares his vision of AV litigation.

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Studies Referenced

Show Notes

  • 1:14 – Hurdles to mass implementation of autonomous vehicles
  • 3:10 – I wouldn’t have had that accident – What happens when AVs cause accidents that careful human drivers would avoid?
  • 6:00 – How does the AV industry shift public perception about the safety of autonomous vehicles?
  • 10:38 – Limits to building the safety case for AVs using statistics
  • 14:10 – Are we there yet? How safe is safe enough?
  • 16:35 – How accidents involving AVs will be different
  • 20:26 – Who gets sued if an AV is involved in an accident?

Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0

How are autonomous vehicles regulated in the United States? Is it the right approach? In the inaugural episode of DRIVERLESS, host Zach Adams speaks with product liability litigator Jonathan Feczko and business and transportation lawyer Tod Northman, both partners at Tucker Ellis, about “Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicle 3.0.” The Department of Transportation issued the latest guidance in early October 2018, and the trio dig into the document, establish the regulatory context for the guidance, and evaluate the ramifications of the DOT’s approach.  Drawing from their differing legal backgrounds, Zach, Jon and Tod assess who won with the document, who lost, and what issues were not adequately addressed. They also discuss why the federal government has taken the approach it has, despite legitimate concerns raised by safety and privacy advocates.

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Show Notes

  • 1:10 – Best of AV 3.0
  • 3:45 – What’s Missing?
  • 5:42 – Cybersecurity and Privacy
  • 8:55 – Regulatory Landscape
  • 11:00 – Winners
  • 15:07 – Human Drivers for the Win
  • 20:47 – Federal Support for the AV Industry
  • 22:50 – Impact of Guidance on State and Local Governments
  • 25:43 – AV Safety
  • 31:20 – Big Auto Meets Big Data
  • 37:09 – Information Gathering

Welcome to Driverless!

Welcome to Driverless, a podcast devoted to analyzing the legal issues surrounding autonomous vehicles and other artificial intelligence technologies! In this teaser, host Zach Adams details how upcoming episodes will explore policy and regulation implications, legal liability questions, corporate and business considerations, and how these issues intersect with the technologies driving the future of transportation. Tune in on November 7th for the release of the first episode of Driverless!

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