Rauno Kinkar, a partner and attorney-at-law at LEXTAL, and Mats Volberg, a lawyer, visited an event organised by the German Comparative Law Society called the 38th Comparative Law Conference. The event was held at the University of Tübingen in Germany.  This year’s theme was digitalisation.

Rauno Kinkar and Mats Volberg together with Martin Ebers, Co-Professor of Information Technology Law at the University of Tartu, gave a presentation on the Estonian legal system and the social debate about self-driving cars. The article was co-authored by LEXTAL’s attorney-at-law Henri Ratnik and our former intern Bridgit Pavlov. The presentation was part of a panel entitled Driving Without a Driver: Autonomous Driving as a Legal Challenge.

France, Germany, the Netherlands and the USA presenters gave a similar overview of how regulations work in their home countries. Michael Rodi presented the primary results of a comparative analysis on the surface of the presentations of all five countries. On the basis of the reports, the German scientific publishing house Mohr Siebeck will publish a collection by the spring of next year.

A number of exciting studies and topics were presented. Joanna Bryson’s “Algorithms, Transparency, Ethical Standards,” one of the tenets of which was that based on the nature of ethics, only other people can be held accountable in any digital technology situation. Gerd Grasshoff’s “Wissen auf Rezept – eine kleine Geschichte des Knowhows,” presented a very clear distinction between scientific knowledge and practical know-how.

Gary Marchant’s presentations left the idea that self-driving cars today are still such that they can easily be abused by knowledgeable people. While a self-driving car may have a main road according to traffic rules, for safety reasons, it stops when it sees that another car that should give way continues to move. Thus, for example, in right-hand rule situations, it is possible for human drivers to push themselves through an intersection in an irregular manner.

We thank the University of Tübingen for the invitation and the opportunity to share our knowledge in the matter.