Dubai, UAE, March 7, 2017: The need to develop an appropriate legal and regulatory landscape for the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or 4IR, and the challenges of developing governing policies, were key points of discussion during a press conference held today by global law firm K&L Gates LLP and the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS) in Dubai.
Highlighting the impact of autonomous vehicle testing on public roads in 2016, lawyers from K&L Gates stressed the need for progressive legislation that specifically addresses, but doesn’t inhibit, new disruptive technologies. As the world heads towards autonomous vehicles as a viable form of transport – which, according to consultants Strategy&, will be in the next 10 to 20 years on public streets and highways – the need to lay solid guidelines and regulations for their governance is a pressing and global concern. Legislation is required not only for road and vehicle users, but, perhaps even more crucially, for businesses that manufacture the autonomous vehicles and related software. The issue is of major significance to the UAE, given Dubai’s target of a quarter of all transportation on its roads being driverless by 2030.
The law firm was represented at today’s press conference by Dubai partner William Reichert and, via video link, by Paris partner Claude-Étienne Armingaud, who discussed the global trends in the emergence of connected and autonomous vehicles. The need to create an appropriate and progressive legal and regulatory landscape on a global scale was a focal point of the conversation, along with the legislation required to cover diverse areas such as personal data, cybersecurity, telecommunications, intellectual property and data ownership, and research and development.
Among the comments offered by Claude-Étienne Armingaud were: “There has been much excitement about the introduction of autonomous and smart vehicles. But, there is still a tremendous amount to be done before they can become viable replacements for current transportation systems. A start has been made towards laying the foundation of a regulatory framework in many countries around the world. But there remain considerable challenges that must be overcome by lawmakers and regulators in developing a comprehensive and unified approach to govern what we anticipate will be a strong sector in the very near future.”
During the press conference, K&L Gates also introduced an opinion piece on the legal implications of 4IR technologies which has been specifically developed for the inaugural Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, taking place at the Paris-Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, UAE, from March 27-30, 2017. A joint initiative by the UAE Ministry of Economy and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and co-hosted with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, the Summit will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The Summit is the world’s first global gathering for the manufacturing community, bringing together leaders in business, government and civil society to shape a vision for the sector’s future.
Entitled ‘Globalization of Connected and Autonomous Cars – a Long and Winding Road?’, K&L Gates’ opinion piece is a significant thought-leadership contribution to the 4IR agenda, including insight on how emerging areas like autonomous transport can be governed by progressive legislation and regulation and providing an overview of the various international and regional initiatives that have been undertaken over the past year, as well as major issues that still need to be addressed while the world’s legislative bodies catch up with the pace of technological development.
Badr Al-Olama, Chief Executive Officer, Strata Manufacturing, and Head of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit Organising Committee, said: “As the new industrial revolution takes increasing hold over manufacturing and its adjacent industries, it becomes increasingly evident that the exciting rate of technological development will lead to an unprecedented evolution of legislative rules and regulations for the sake of continuity, compatibility and the overall global community. With the support of market leaders such as K&L Gates, GMIS will bring together the world’s manufacturing leaders to address questions that are increasingly being raised by regulators, businesses and communities around the world – how we are to govern an era of technological disruption and change that brings many opportunities but also imposes inherent risks.”
The Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit is the world’s first platform for people to learn from best practices from all across the world, and to explore the regulatory requirements of 4IR in which new technologies will transform the way we live, and the way manufacturing and industrial businesses operate. Establishing international standards and guidelines relating to emergent technologies is part of the Summit’s outcomes-driven agenda.