Autonomous Vehicles, Ethics and Law

Event Details
Thursday, September 2, 2021
3:30-4:30, 115 Avery Hall

4:30-5:00, 115 Avery Hall

William H. Widen

Professor, University of Miami School of Law


This presentation provides an introduction to my recent work on autonomous vehicles (AVs), ethics and law. The AV industry is not being candid with the American public about the risks, costs and benefits of AV technology. The lack of transparency has implications in a variety of regulatory arenas: securities law disclosure for SEC filings; the setting of standards, metrics and data parameters for AV safety by the NHTSA; and, FTC evaluation of advertising by AV companies to determine whether claims made about safety constitute deceptive and unfair business practices. In addition to regulatory problems, as a matter of democratic process the public needs an accurate picture of risks, costs and benefits of this revolutionary technology. Candor now is the better policy. If the public feels it was deceived about the true state of affairs, the AV industry risks a backlash when AV accidents inevitably occur.

Speaker Bio

William H. Widen. William H. Widen is a Professor at the University of Miami School of Law. He received an AB in philosophy with honors and distinction from Stanford University in 1980, and a JD cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1983, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He was a law clerk to the Hon. Levin Campbell on the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, and then practiced corporate and securities law in New York for 17 years at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, where he was a partner, before moving to the academy in 2001. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute.