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Living in an Autonomous World

Autonomous & Connected Vehicles Alert Joy Johns

Autonomous and connected vehicles are the hottest topic in technology these days. From Tesla's unique Autopilot system to self-driving Ubers and pizza delivery, almost all of industry is in flux. This technology is not only impacting auto-manufacturers, but consumer product companies and even entire cities. Autonomous technology is much more far-reaching than most think.

It's not only the auto-industry that is on the forefront of this area; any company with a consumer product will be impacted by autonomous vehicles. From Apple to Amazon, companies are not wasting time. Each week brings new partnerships with new plans and products in the works. Toyota has partnered with Pizza Hut and Uber, among others, to create an autonomous service vehicle that serves as a ride sharing vessel, but also as a delivery service and storefront on wheels. Connected cars are implementing in-car payment systems so passengers will be able to shop and eat while they ride to their destinations.

With the notion that a driving experience will be "eyes-off," and eventually "mind-off," manufacturers are partnering with start-up companies and focusing on comfort for self-driving vehicles. This includes creating seats that swivel to become mobile conference rooms inside a vehicle, or beds in cars so that you can sleep comfortably on your next road trip.

There are also partnerships with cities and towns to revamp roadways and create new products. Auto manufacturers are partnering with public safety departments, focusing on producing a public safety vessel that constantly scans the landscape for crime and dispatches to 911.

All of this innovation is so exciting, but it means that we all need to broaden our thinking when it relates to autonomous technology. Quarles & Brady LLP has clients in what were seemingly distinct industries now looking around the same corner to see how their place in the market will be changed. I am excited to be part of a diverse, cross-disciplinary and multigenerational task force studying these issues for the long-term benefit of our clients. We are tracking the latest developments, such as those discussed last month at the TU Automotive Conference in Detroit, which was billed as the world's largest forum focused on autonomous and connected technology. Building off April's Business Law Training, "Legal Risks of Operating in a World of Connected Technologies (IoT)," presented by my colleagues Heather Buchta and Linda Emery, our July BLT will provide an overview of the current trends and business issues involved with autonomous technology, including the rules and regulations that effect the industry, impacts of joint venturing on IP and potential interruptions to distribution channels.

Join us on July 26, 2018 at noon Central to find out more!