The software utilized to operate autonomous vehicles presents a unique risk. On-board sensors, collision avoidance systems and other coordinated operations can create personal data storage concerns. This session at the RIMS 2019 Conference and Exhibition featured discussions about data communication protocols, personal data storage and potential legal liabilities.
- Kellie Howard-Goudy, Shareholder, Collins Einhorn Farrell PC
- Craig Hoffman, Director, Risk Management & Safety, Wakefern Food Corp.
Traditional risk management practices can inform how we approach risk management for new technologies, including autonomous vehicles. Of course, there are several issues risk managers need to address when it comes to autonomous vehicles that have not been addressed in the past. The primary concern with these new technologies will be data.
More Data, More Problems
General risk management issues for any company that deals with third party data include the amount of data, type of data and storage of data. We have been grappling with the data issue for a while now, but autonomous vehicles are collecting data at an exponentially higher level than traditional vehicles.
In typical business environments, data exposure risks can be limited to confidential financial or health information. When full autonomy for vehicles is achieved, those vehicles will be collecting data on mapping and human behavior. The vehicles need to be able to predict and mirror human behavior to operate safely.
Many of the classic data risk issues in a business setting might also apply to autonomous vehicles. Traditional data hacking, along with unintentional intrusion of wireless networks, can cause serious problems. If autonomous vehicles cannot communicate with one another or the mapping network, they are rendered unusable. This could cause issues like business interruption, business reputation impact, compromised data and government intervention (fines/penalties). More importantly, those events could cause accidents or loss of life. For this reason, humans will always need to be involved in driving operations in some way, until we reach the highest level of autonomy for vehicles.
Identifying the extent of risks posed by autonomous vehicles is an important step in developing risk management practices and insurance coverages. To do this, we will need to apply risk identification protocols from other industries and rely on the the emergence of data risk management protocols across industries.
Lessons Learned About Future Risks on the Road to Autonomy
- The interaction of operators with autonomous features needs to be improved.
- Autonomous vehicles may make drivers lazy.
- Operators don’t necessarily understand autonomous features.