Autonomous Vehicle Technology A Guide for Policymakers (Rand Corporation, 2014)

In this study, Rand Corporation investigated the possible implications of autonomous vehicle technology on our roads. There are many policy and technological changes that will be necessary as these vehicles become more prevalent. This report is intended as a guide for state and federal policymakers on the many issues that this technology raises.

After surveying the advantages and disadvantages of the technology, RAND researchers determined that the benefits of the technology likely outweigh the disadvantages. However, many of the benefits will accrue to parties other than the technology’s purchasers. These positive externalities may justify some form of subsidy. The report also explores policy issues, communications, regulation and standards, and liability issues raised by the technology; and concludes with some tentative guidance for policymakers, guided largely by the principle that the technology should be allowed and perhaps encouraged when it is superior to an average human driver.

Download the full report.