Airplanes and Artificial Intelligence Part II

Artificial intelligence (“AI”) and autonomous vehicle technologies (“AVT”) have the potential to redefine how the aviation industry operates.  While the operational changes that these technologies will bring are being widely explored, the legal issues raised by their rapid introduction into the industry are not.  In this two part series, we will be looking at applications for AI in aviation and its effect on the legal liability and regulation of those who use it. See Part 1 here.

What are the legal issues?

The most interesting legal issue surrounding these technologies will not emerge unless and until a robot or other type of machine becomes self-aware.  At that point, the world will have to deal with many ethical and philosophical questions that are well beyond the scope of this article.  Many countries and governmental entities, however, are already on the road to regulating other aspects of AI.

Even though many of the emerging legal issues are starting to be recognized, one thing is certain:  The law will significantly lag, not anticipate, the legal issues brought forth by this rapidly evolving technology because AI computes faster than legislatures can act.  We can say that with metaphysical certainty because the law is always slow to adapt to technology, especially technologies changing as quickly as AI and AVT.  That lag is where attorneys, who find themselves dealing with these issues, will earn their money and make a little legal history.

CONTINUE READING . . .

Airplanes and Artificial Intelligence Part 1: What is it and how is it used?

Artificial intelligence (“AI”) and autonomous vehicle technologies (“AVT”) have the potential to redefine how the aviation industry operates.  While the operational changes that these technologies will bring are being widely explored, the legal issues raised by their rapid introduction into the industry are not.  In this two part series, we will be looking at applications for AI in aviation and its effect on the legal liability and regulation of those who use it. 

What is it and how is it used?

What is artificial intelligence?

No one agrees on the definition of AI.  While the term dates to 1955, it continues to conjure thoughts of HAL from 2001, or Skynet from James Cameron’s Terminator movies.[1]  In reality, AI generally refers to algorithms and related statistical methods aimed at imitating (or exceeding) human reasoning, pattern recognition, problem solving and learning capabilities.

Modern “AI” algorithms are hungry for data.  They rely on massive amounts of information (generally referred to as “big data”) to drive a mathematical “training” process called “machine learning.”  Once these algorithms have been “trained,” they can quickly identify patterns, changes, and solve problems present in the processed data, provided that the underlying algorithm is designed to detect such patterns and changes, or to solve such problems.

CONTINUE READING . . .

In the Third Circuit, Preemption Does Not Mean Preemption

The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has once again considered whether state law tort claims based on defects in aviation products are preempted by federal law. This time, in a 2-1 decision, the court ruled that an engine manufacturer can be sued over a defective product design even though the aircraft’s design was approved by the FAA and the components had a valid type certificate. Sikkelee v. Precision Airmotive Corporation, No. 17-3006 (October 25, 2018).

CONTINUE READING . . .

Posted in FAA \ Leave a comment

Thank You for Attending our ‘Pipelines and the SAFETY Act: Limiting Your Liability’ Webinar

Thank you for joining us for our webinar: Pipelines and the SAFETY Act: Limiting Your Liability. We had a great turnout and appreciate your continued support.

This free webinar, from our Emergency Response and Preparedness Practice Attorneys, provided information for pipeline companies as well as information for airports, insurance risk managers, and other pipeline related UAS operators.

If you happened to miss this webinar and would like to view/listen to the presentation you can find it here.

Posted in Emergency Response, Webinars \ Comments Off on Thank You for Attending our ‘Pipelines and the SAFETY Act: Limiting Your Liability’ Webinar

Registration is Now Open for the 13th Annual Aviation Symposium!

Register Here for the 13th Annual Aviation Symposium.

In our 13th annual symposium this February, we will focus on, among other things, aviation accidents, incidents and events occurring outside the United States. Issues and areas to be considered, include:

  • ICAO Annex 13
  • The role of your Company
  • The role of the NTSB and the State Department
  • Criminalization of your accident
  • Getting the crew out of the country . . . or not?
  • Family assistance challenges

and a whole host of issues, problems and challenges you face when flying outside the United States.

The preliminary agenda is being finalized and will be available shortly.
As always, in order to insure we address the most current and topical issues, our agenda is
“a work in progress.” One thing you can count on, however, is that it will be great!

You can read more, as well as register on the event page.

Hotel Reservations

The Symposium will be held at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner, Virginia.  Make sure you book as soon as you can, as we have run out of rooms in the past.

Rate: Deluxe Room is $259 per night, single or double, plus applicable taxes
Reservations Number: 1-800-241-3333
Cutoff date: January 14, 2019

Book your group rate for 13th Annual Airline Symposium Hosted by LeClairRyan
Online Group Code: ASLASLA

Symposium App

Our enormously popular Symposium App will be available shortly. Be on the lookout for more details.
The app features:

• The most up-to-date event schedule
• Speaker profiles
• Brochures, slide decks, videos and other reference materials
• The Aviation Emergency Response Handbook
• A searchable attendee directory
• Private messaging with fellow attendees
• Commentary from LeClairRyan’s Plane-ly Spoken blog
• Our new podcast “Plane-ly Spoken”

CLE CREDIT Application for accreditation of this course or program is currently pending. Please indicate your interest/applicable states when registering. Please contact aviationpractice@leclairryan.com for more information.

QUESTIONS Please contact Barbara Butler at 703.647.5965 or barbara.butler@leclairryan.com or Lauren Duda-Compton at 703.647.5915 or lauren.duda-compton@leclairryan.com.

We look forward to seeing you all in February!

Thank You For Attending The FAA Reauthorization Act Webinar

Thank you for joining us for our webinar: The FAA Reauthorization Act: What is in it and what does it mean for you? We had a great turnout and appreciate your continued support of our Aviation Webinar Series.

If you missed this webinar and would like to view the slides or listen to the presentation you can find them here. Please be on the lookout for the next Webinar on Pipelines and the SAFETY Act: Limiting Your Liability.

Pipeline Companies Should Do More to Prepare for NTSB Accident Investigations

–Executives, employees and contractors should know the specifics of federal agency’s process, caution LeClairRyan attorneys; Massachusetts explosions highlight NTSB’s role in oil and gas sector.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is well known for its sleuthing on plane crashes. However, oil and gas executives often need better education about how the agency tackles one of its other responsibilities—investigating pipeline accidents, advise veteran attorneys with the national law firm LeClairRyan.

The catastrophic gas explosions that destroyed dozens of homes in Massachusetts this month have called attention to the NTSB’s role in investigating such incidents, noted Mark A. Dombroff, an Alexandria-based member of LeClairRyan and co-leader of its Transportation Industry practice. “Most, but not all, in the pipeline business are aware that something like this will immediately trigger a federally mandated and led investigation,” he said. “But their counterparts in aviation tend to be far better prepared to contend with the highly specific—and high-stakes—investigative process relied upon by NTSB.”

CONTINUE READING . . .

The FAA Reauthorization Act: What is in it and what does it mean for you?

Note: Given the previous delays from Capitol Hill, we have postponed the below webinar on the FAA Reauthorization Act several times. On October 4, we will cover the Act as it stands as of the date of the webinar, regardless of where it is in the process.

It’s that time of year, and Congress is once again attempting to pass a comprehensive reauthorization for the FAA. The difference this time around is that it’s almost certain to pass. The House of Representatives decided to strip out the most controversial parts of the 21st Century AIRR Act and, after a flurry of amendments on the floor of the House, passed a comprehensive bill that sets FAA priorities well into the next decade. Over the summer, the focus has been on the United States Senate, where all points indicate a similar bill is likely to be passed by the end of September/early October.

In this complimentary 90-minute webinar, Mark Dombroff, Mark McKinnon, and special guest panelist Jim Williams of JHW Unmanned Solutions LLC will unpack the hundreds of pages of legislation, explain what it means for the aviation industry, and explore its impact on the following areas:

  • Integration of unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System,
  • Changes to aircraft certification requirements and procedures,
  • The FAA’s ongoing restructuring efforts,
  • Revisions to rest and duty rules for flight crews,
  • Modifications to the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP),
  • Efforts to strengthen cybersecurity,
  • New studies and regulations affecting privacy,
  • Changes to passenger rights,
  • Funding for the Airport Improvement Program,
  • Changes to the regulation of model aircraft.

As always, the audience will also have an opportunity to ask questions and shape the discussion. You will not want to miss this no-holds-barred discussion of how this important legislation will impact all aspects of aviation.

Join us for this complimentary 90-minute webinar.

Date: Thursday October 4, 2018

Time: 1:00 – 2:30 pm ET

Event Number: 790 321 319

Event Password: 0919Reauthor

Please register by 11:30 am on Thursday, October 4, 2018.

RSVP Here

If you have any questions or concerns, please email AskAviation@leclairryan.com.

Upcoming Webinar – Pipelines and the SAFETY Act: Limiting Your Liability

This free webinar, from our Emergency Response and Preparedness Practice Attorneys, is not only for pipeline companies, it can provide information for airports, insurance risk managers, and other pipeline related UAS operators.

LeClairRyan and the Energy Drone Coalition are pleased to present this webinar, which will explain how pipeline companies can leverage their existing processes to obtain DHS certification that limits liability in the event of a terrorist attack.  As pipeline operators are aware, the terrorist risk they face is broader and more multifarious than the risks faced by other industries. The government’s recognition of this risk is evident from the TSA’s creation of Pipeline Security Guidelines.  What you might not know is the procedures you already have in place to minimize the risk of intentional damage to critical infrastructure can also save your company from ruinous monetary judgments through the protections afforded by the SAFETY Act.

CONTINUE READING . . .

Perception Is Reality

On August 28th the Denver Post reported that the Denver Police Department had shelved a consumer-grade drone recently purchased for nearly $3,000 after the administration nixed the crime lab’s plan to use it to photograph crime scenes.  Meanwhile, the Denver Fire Department intends to move forward with plans to purchase an Aeryon SkyRanger to use when dealing with all sorts of incidents, including structure fires, hazardous material spills and rescues. The difference between the failure of one program and the likely success of the other appears to turn on public perception.

This real world example highlights the critically important task of considering the risk or benefit to your reputation or brand as a result of your drone program.  Members of the public often have a visceral, negative reaction to drones. A poorly implemented program can anger customers, industry partners, and the public, thereby tarnishing a well-earned reputation and cause the demise of your program. At the extreme, angry landowners have been known to shoot down drones.  On the other hand, a well implemented program can position you as an industry leader using cutting-edge technology to provide the best, most reliable electric service while ensuring the safety of your employees.

CONTINUE READING . . .

Posted in General \ Leave a comment