Advances in technology, Big Data and the Internet of Things are converging in the car and vehicle manufacturing industry to produce “connected and autonomous vehicles” (CAV).

CAV have, or will have, the ability to, at one end of the spectrum provide some automated control such as cruise control and automatic braking, whilst at the other end of the spectrum will in due course allow the driver to have no participation in the control of the vehicle at all.

The ability for vehicles to connect with each other and with other sensors around them means that drivers can be fed real time information on the environment, pedestrians and other vehicles and at the same time allow the driving habits and preferences of the driver and the vehicle to be monitored and shared with motor insurers, health insurers and authorities.

Whilst there are obvious benefits to society from CAV there are also risks that data protection rights of individuals as well as human rights may be abused and/or diminished.

There are also tortious legal issues surrounding liability particularly where a fully autonomous vehicle is involved in an accident where entire reliance is placed upon technology and the question then arises as to where liability falls – is it the car owner, the insurer, the technology provider or providers, the car manufacturer or government?

This emerging interface between technology, the law and individuals rights is being explored in the CAV Forum of The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) of which Robert Bond is a member.

We plan to present a webinar on CAV and data protection in the next few months.