Driverless Cars & Tort Liability

Driverless Cars & Tort Liability Panel

A draft of Bryant Walker Smith’s Paper is available here.

Panel Keynote

BWSmith Bryant Walker Smith, Stanford Law School
Lecturer in Law
Fellow, Center for Internet and Society
Fellow, Center for Automotive Research

Bryant Walker Smith is a fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, a fellow at the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford (CARS), and a lecturer in law at Stanford Law School who writes, speaks, and teaches on the legal and policy aspects of increasing automation. He is a member of the New York Bar and a former transportation engineer who has worked on infrastructure issues in the United States and throughout Europe. Bryant also chairs the Emerging Technology Law Committee of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies and the planning task force for SAE International’s On-Road Automated Vehicle Standards Committee. Prior to joining Stanford, he clerked for the Honorable Evan J. Wallach at the United States Court of International Trade. Bryant holds an LL.M. in international legal studies and a J.D. (cum laude) from New York University School of Law in addition to a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin.

Bryant designed and taught the first-ever course on the legal aspects of autonomous driving, frequently lectures in both law and engineering courses, and routinely presents at major conferences, including the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, the Driverless Car Summit, and We Robot. This summer he will also welcome the Transportation Research Board’s Vehicle Automation Workshop to Stanford. His white paper on the legality of self-driving vehicles and his law review article on managing autonomous travel demand were recently released, his autonomous driving blog is read within industry and government, and he is regularly interviewed for national media. Bryant’s legal research addresses questions of authority, uncertainty, and boundary in disciplines ranging from tort law to administrative law to international economic law.


Panel Moderator


Lisa Heinzerling, Georgetown University Law Center
John Carroll Research Professor of Law

Lisa Heinzerling is Professor of Law at Georgetown University. Her specialties include environmental and natural resources law, administrative law, the economics of regulation, and food and drug law. From January 2009 to July 2009, Heinzerling served as Senior Climate Policy Counsel to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and then, from July 2009 to December 2010, she served as Associate Administrator of EPA’s Office of Policy.  In 2008, she served as a member of President Obama’s EPA transition team.

Professor Heinzerling has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, Vermont Law School, and Yale Law School.  She lectures frequently on environmental law and other topics both in the U.S. and around the world. She has published several books, including a leading casebook (with Zygmunt Plater and others) on environmental law, a cutting-edge casebook (with Mark Tushnet) aimed at introducing first-year law students to the regulatory and administrative state, and a widely cited critique of the use of cost-benefit analysis in environmental policy (Priceless: On Knowing the Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing, co-authored with Frank Ackerman). Peer environmental law professors have four times voted her work among the top ten articles of the year.  In 2002, she received the faculty teaching award at Georgetown Law. The Yale Environmental Law Association and Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy recently gave her their inaugural award for innovative and inspiring scholarship in environmental law.

After finishing law school, where she served as editor-in-chief of theUniversity of Chicago Law Review, Professor Heinzerling clerked for Judge Richard A. Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., of the U.S. Supreme Court. She was a Skadden Fellow at Business & Professional People for the Public Interest, in Chicago, and for three years practiced environmental law in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.

While at Georgetown, Professor Heinzerling has continued to litigate cases in environmental law. Most prominently, she served as lead author of the winning briefs in Massachusetts v. EPA, in which the Supreme Court held that the Clean Air Act gives EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gases. A 2009 survey of over 400 environmental lawyers and law professors ranked this case as the most significant case in all of environmental law.


Kenneth Anderson, American University Washington College of Law
KAndersonProfessor of Law
Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace 
Member, Hoover Task Force on National Security and Law
Non-Resident Visiting Fellow, The Brookings Institution 
Senior Fellow, The Rift Valley Institute

Kenneth Anderson is professor of law. He teaches and writes in the areas of business and finance, both domestic and international; law and economics; and public international law, international organizations, human rights, and the laws of war. His current research agenda for 2010-11 focuses on targeted killing and drone warfare in armed conflict, and robotics and the law generally; global governance, global civil society and legitimacy; financial regulation reform (with Steven L. Schwarcz); and concept of proportionality in the law of war, the philosophy of value, and cost-benefit analysis. Professor Anderson’s book on UN-US relations, Returning to Earth: What Multilateral Engagement Means in UN-US Relations, will appear in 2011 from The Hoover Institution Press; and together with Duke University’s Steven L. Schwarcz, he is at work on “Reforming Financial Regulation” for Oxford University Press. Editorial board member of the Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence and political sciences advisory editor to the Revista de Libros (Madrid), Professor Anderson actively blogs at the Volokh Conspiracy and the international law blog Opinio Juris. He is a contributor to the Times Literary Supplement, Revista de Libros, Wall Street Journal, Weekly Standard, New York Times Magazine, Financial Times, Policy Review, and other general interest reviews. Professor Anderson will be a visiting professor at the University of Virginia School of Law in Spring 2011.



Gregory D. Winfree, United States Department of Transportation
Administrator, Research and Innovative Technology Administration

Greg Winfree originally came to RITA in March 2010 and was sworn in as its fourth Administrator on October 23, 2013.  During his tenure, Mr. Winfree has also served as the agency’s Chief Counsel, Deputy Administrator and Acting Administrator, and as chairman of the Department of Transportation’s Innovation Council.

Prior to his RITA appointment, Mr. Winfree served as Chief Litigation Counsel for Freeport-McMoRan Corporation, a leading international mining and natural resource producer; as Senior Litigation Counsel at Union Carbide Corporation; and as Director of Litigation for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Prior to his in-house corporate legal work, Winfree was a Trial Attorney in the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. He started his legal career as an Associate at the Venable law firm in Washington, D.C.

As both an innovator with design and utility patents to his credit and an experienced Intellectual Property litigator, Mr. Winfree has a special affinity for RITA’s diverse transportation research, innovation and knowledge management mission.  Much of his career has been aligned with organizations with a strong focus in the STEM (Science, Education, Technology and Mathematics) disciplines, and in his official capacity at RITA, Mr. Winfree has spoken extensively on the importance of STEM education to the future DOT and transportation workforce.

Administrator Winfree earned a B.S. degree in Communications/Public Relations from St. John’s University and a J.D. from Georgetown University, where he served as Lead Articles Editor for The Tax Lawyer, the official publication of the American Bar Association Section of Taxation.  He carries a valid motorcycle endorsement and is an advocate for advancing safety for motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users.  An avid rider, he is a founding member of the USDOT Triskelions Motorcycle Club and has ridden cross country on a number of occasions.