Top Impacts of the Pandemic on Autonomous Vehicle Research and Development

18 August 2020 Dashboard Insights Blog
Authors: Chethan K. Srinivasa Pakin Pongcheewin

No industry has been immune to the pandemic, and it has certainly had a significant impact on Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Research and Development. AV companies have laid-off workers, delayed testing, and postponed the launch of some vehicles.

The following are some of the top negative impacts of the pandemic on the AV industry:

However, the very premise of AV technology is to improve public safety and provide societal benefits, such as reducing the number of injuries or fatalities due to traffic accidents, reducing traffic congestion, and making transportation accessible for the elderly or people with disabilities. AV companies have stepped up to the plate by applying their technology to solve unique problems posed by the pandemic. As such, it should come as no surprise that AV technology is being used to help mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Indeed, AVs can be deployed to automate tasks during the stay-at-home order and enable social distancing by providing contactless services.

The following are some illustrative examples of the top applications of AV technology to the pandemic:

  • Companies deployed AVs to deliver medical supplies, food, and packages. Companies also deployed AVs to disinfect areas, and formed partnerships to accelerate the development of AV technology to mitigate the spread of the virus. Some companies repurposed their technology to assist with various efforts, including charitable deliveries.
  • Robotaxi services were deployed to provide an alternative transportation system for people, and were modified to provide a temperature measurement and take disinfection measures. In another example, using a software patch configured for vehicle self-sterilization, a company was able to disinfect its fleet of vehicles.
  • As the applicability of AV, 5G, and AI technology towards mitigating the spread of the virus has become increasingly apparent during the pandemic, countries have found newfound incentives to advance legislation that facilitates AV research and development.

In spite of the significant negative impacts the pandemic has had on AV companies’ ability to perform research and development and launch new products, many AV companies have still found innovative ways to apply their technology to help mitigate the spread of the virus and solve unique problems posed by the pandemic. While COVID-19 will eventually disappear, these AV-based technical innovations are here to stay and will provide valuable benefits to society for the long-term.

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Related Services