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Autonomous Systems in Aviation: Between Product Liability and Innovation

Book Contribution - Chapter

Increasingly autonomous cyber-physical systems based on self-adaptive software are making their way into the aviation domain. However, the combination of their adaptive learning properties and the safety goals of aviation create unique legal and regulatory challenges for the manufacturers and regulators of such systems alike. This paper argues that some of the fundamental concepts of the product liability regime in the EU and their interpretation deprive manufacturers of autonomous systems of two essential defences: the ‘state of the art’ defence and the regulatory compliance defence. The hesitation in the direction of the overall approach to regulating and certifying autonomous systems in aviation induces legal uncertainty which can only be overcome through surgical legislative intervention.The paper formulates recommendations for amendments in light of the ongoing evaluation and pending review of the Product Liability Directive.
Book: SESAR Innovation Days 2017: Selected scientific papers on air traffic management
Pages: 98 - 110
Publication year:2018