Key Issues


CAVs - image

A wave of disruption is in motion.

The move to driverless cars or “Connected and Autonomous Vehicles” (CAVs) is changing the automotive industry and expected to reshape traditional business models.

It’s a game-changing shift in the international landscape, and one that calls for everyone to climb on board. Already we’ve seen clients in the energy, automotive and software sectors embracing innovative changes, and we’re handling their transitions to electric cars and trains. Yet, CAV innovation goes beyond vehicle replacement.

CAVs are putting digital technology firmly at the heart of a sector built on mechanical engineering, and as it powers forward, it’s opening the market to new digital entrants from the tech, media and communication sector.

Refocused priorities 

The transformation is, and will be, widespread. Changes to automation, together with the shift from combustion engine to electric vehicles, will resonate across all aspects of our lives – and not simply the automotive and transport industries.

Sector suppliers, their manufacturers and businesses with heavy reliance on vehicles, all face new opportunities, new investments and new challenges – and not without significant investment. Employees will face new technologies and may require extensive upskill investments and potential redeployment.

For the customer, CAV innovations could see their needs reprioritised.

Vehicle use is rapidly becoming smarter, and we could see a shift from vehicle ownership and long-lease plans to a more on-demand approach to transport, opening up market competition. With competition, comes a more customer-centric approach.

It’s customer requirements that will be driving industry developments.

Directing the use of data

Vehicle use is rapidly becoming one element of a wider smart transport offering. It leverages data and analytics to provide a seamless user experience.

Yet data has a dual aspect. It’s a key area that is both carving opportunities and posing potential challenges within this sector. Increasing scrutiny on how data is collected and used means that, while exploring opportunities and different approaches, it’s ever-more important to stay well-informed of new risks and standards.

Competition and e-privacy are just two areas that will be on radar for many businesses in many sectors, alongside the use of data specifically for the CAV market.

The legal impact of self-driving vehicles

Mass roll-out of Connected and Automated Vehicles requires large-scale connectivity.

Self-driving vehicles mean our clients now require new frameworks for both motor insurance and liability, as well as vehicle and road traffic standards. We’re working with them to adapt existing legal principles to accommodate the changing technology and manage risk. In turn, liability changes will be implemented across the whole CAV ecosystem – affecting manufacturers, software designers, maintainers, vendors and users.

Security and connectivity go hand in hand. It’s here that our deep understanding of the full picture is proving valuable to clients in supporting their creation of effective telecom networks and applications. So, it’s not just new disruptors on the horizon – established industry players are re-focusing and innovating.

The future hinges on establishing robust systems and adept cyber risk management.

As new insurance and liability models take shape, clients are utilising our regulatory experts because they know they are best placed for monitoring and shaping a safer connected future.

Innovation beyond legal 

Innovation is leading the way. That means staying informed and in the driving seat when it comes to the latest releases and regulations.

Technology and future-focused practices are those offering comprehensive expertise to take their clients into a changing market. Networking with automotive and transport leaders, as well as technology developers, keeps our lawyers in the innovation hub and on the pulse of changing regulations.

Our team is increasingly sought-after for innovation-focused legal advice; for IP strategies, and experience with both tech start-ups and investors. Many want to understand their options, maintain a strategic position in the market and shape future policies.

Because, in short, automated vehicles will forge more than new road systems and methods of mobilisation. It will change the face of an industry. Business restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, employment alterations and recruitment will all have a part to play on the road ahead.

That’s why many clients from the automotive industries and those affected by it, are seeking out teams like ours, who have a portfolio of skills to support and shape these transitions.