Autonomous vehicles

Expert Voices

AV developers need new contracts to spread risk across supply chain

Illustration of a computer wearing a seat belt
Illustration:Rebecca Zisser/Axios

AV crashes will present automakers with complicated new questions about liability. To prepare for them, they will need to rethink their warranties and indemnities with suppliers.

Why it matters: An AV accident could be caused by anything from a programming bug to a mechanical failure. Given this complexity, automakers will need contracts that protect them from assuming liability for integrated software and hardware from their suppliers.

Expert Voices

5G investment needs to scale up for AVs to reach full potential

Colorful cell phones with cellular network signals and clouds overhead
Illustration: Sarah Grillo, Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Forthcoming 5G networks are expected to expedite advances in AV technology, but the infrastructural investment required has been estimated at $130 bilion–$150 billion — a significant hurdle that is holding AVs short of their potential and will likely require investment beyond wireless carriers.

The big picture: For AVs to be deployed, they'll need both onboard sensors to make their way through the environment and 5G to talk to one another. But until there's a greater commitment to the technology's rollout, AVs will be developed without the benefits 5G could offer.

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