The global momentum toward autonomous and connected vehicles (AV and CV) is accelerating faster than anyone guessed, as demonstrated by the current level of interest, investment and technological advancement. Whether your business is a direct participant in this new industry or will be affected by the myriad of changes that will result, Buchanan’s position at the forefront of this rapidly approaching revolution will help you succeed.

Enabling the Integrated and Collaborative Ecosystem of Autonomous and Connected Vehicles

The world of autonomous and connected vehicles is often described as an “ecosystem” because of its hundreds of interrelated components.

All components – mechanical, electrical, digital and, yes, regulatory and legal – must be built not only to work smoothly together, but to evolve synchronously and synergistically. And that is how we can help you. We work cohesively across several practices and are already deeply involved in the developing AV/CV industry. For example, we are:

  • Assisting a major university with technology transfer and other matters related to AV/CV as well as “smart roads.”
  • Assisting a major innovator in AV/CV in its contract with the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) to provide autonomous-capable vehicles for a university’s research and development projects.
  • Working with a state Department of Transportation on a long-term university partnership to construct a state-of-the-art transportation technology testing facility for emerging technologies related to tolling, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), and automated and connected vehicles.
  • Representing the manufacturer of autonomous load movers in intellectual property matters and in supply, licensing, support and other contracts with international, national and local industry customers.
  • Using our long-standing experience with mobile payment systems to help clients with payments for ride sharing services, a key participant in the push toward adoption of autonomous vehicles.
  • Assisting a transportation network company with maintaining state oversight of driver-assisted vehicle testing.

When It Comes to Autonomous and Connected Vehicles, We've Got You Covered


The Deals That Turn the Wheels

Our attorneys work at the intersection of intellectual property and corporate law and fully comprehend how both interact in technology transactions. Among the many types of AV/CV-related transactions with which we can assist you are:

  • Capital formation for startups and venture capital-backed technology companies
  • Corporate, partnerships and other entity formations
  • Public-private partnerships for infrastructure and finance
  • Technology company M&A
  • Provider and vendor contracting
  • Software/Saas/Cloud agreements
  • Technology licensing arrangements
  • Employment agreements
  • Contractual allocation of product liability risk and indemnities
  • Governmental oversight of AV testing
Regulatory & Government Relations

Strategic. Synchronized. Effective.

Federal, state and local regulations for autonomous vehicles are being created and revised at a rapid clip. And the regulations will not be simple. Our Government Relations team is monitoring and keeping clients informed as legislation and regulations evolve. But more than that, our team is well-positioned to assist in helping to shape the policy and regulations – with your interests front and center.

Our team:

  • Assisted a major transportation network company and proponent/developer of autonomous vehicle implementations with government relations and regulatory matters before the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, as well as other state’s regulatory agencies.
  • Works with federal and state legislators and agencies such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on AV/CV safety standards and regulations.
  • Tracks new policy and regulatory developments and keeps clients updated regarding the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act, and the vast array of other current and future regulatory obligations.
Intellectual Property

Protecting. Enforcing. Creating Value.

Much of this technology is still in development. Intellectual property law is designed to protect your knowledge, inventive spirit, creativity and rights of ownership. You need the right legal partner to make the law work for you in a way that drives your business success.

We’re here to protect and defend the products of your innovation, with more than 40 attorneys who are registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and regularly do so. You can rely on us because, unlike so many law firms, we can help you with the full complement of IP services. For example:

  • Our attorneys have developed extensive patent portfolios for AV guidance platforms and subsystems for one of the world’s largest defense companies.
  • We are working with the industry leader in delivery automation and tracking solutions on patents related to autonomous vehicles currently used to deliver materials in hospitals.
  • We are preparing trademark applications for a manufacturer of autonomous load movers that learn their way around a warehouse floor.

Who Owns the Data?

Ownership of the vast quantity of data collected and transmitted by these vehicles must be understood and documented. Not only will we will keep you updated as issues evolve, we can also advise you on resulting opportunities and potential challenges for your business.


Adapting to a New Paradigm of Liability

Fully autonomous vehicles will alter current statutory requirements for insurance coverage. So will the methods by which insurance companies establish products and premiums. Our attorneys understand the implications for policy, insurance law, insurance products, liability and litigation. We’re here not only to help guide you, but also to help shape policy at every level as it evolves.

Products Liability

Prevention and Defense

Our product liability attorneys can advise and represent you on minimizing litigation risk with contract reviews, analysis of current product literature and warnings, preventive evaluations of products and more. And we can serve as your trial and coordinating counsel in any trial or appellate forum when accidents occur.

Cybersecurity & Data Privacy

Protect. Prepare. Defend

Data privacy concerns are inherent in the development and use of autonomous and connected vehicles because their extensive wireless connections to infrastructure and other remote systems make them trackable and hackable. We will actively help you protect the systems and data you develop, prepare for a breach should one occur, and respond effectively and efficiently if necessary.

Please visit Buchanan BreachCoach®, your one-stop portal for cybersecurity information and updates.


The Courthouse is Our House

When disputes arise, we can assist vehicle and component manufacturers and designers with such issues as:

  • Conducting internal investigations
  • Responding to NHTSA investigations
  • Representing you in administrative proceedings and enforcement actions
  • Defending you in even the most complex multidistrict class actions, multiparty actions, arbitrations and mediations