Dr. Cody Stolle Joins College of Engineering's NGTC Faculty Fellows

Headshots of Dr. Cody Stolle

Hosted at the University of Nebraska College of Law, the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center (NGTC) works with personnel from the Colleges of Business, Engineering, and Journalism and Mass Communications. Dr. Stolle joined the group due in part to recognizing the extremely important role law, legislation, and liability will have on the automated and augmented-driving industry.

Working with partners in research and education, the center aims to be a lace for uniquely interdisciplinary and forward-looking discussions about the impacts that changing technology is having on society. The center works to study the way law is changing from a “human history” in which actions are constrained by the natural world, to that which is shaped by “our own will, ingenuity, imagination, and mistakes.”

As more automated and augmented driving systems are implemented, it becomes more important to explore changes in law, executive enforcement, and culpability as it relates to distributed vehicle ownership models, transportation-as-a-service (TaaS), and questions of liability during accidents. When an automated vehicle is involved in an impact, run-off-road crash, or traffic congestion, the question becomes who is liable during the event if there are no active human in control of the vehicle.

Dr. Stolle also plans on using his faculty fellow to participate in the varied perspective of infrastructure-based monitoring and personal freedom in the public sphere, considering new technologies in face recognition, location tracking, and contact tracing. His specific role will be focused on providing an engineering perspective on law, liability, data exchange, and monitoring, through his knowledgeable background in transportation, safety, and controls. While his principle focus is on vehicles, as part of NGTC Dr. Stolle hopes to “broaden [his] understanding of the intersection between product and system design, usage, and governance.”

In addition to vehicular autonomy, the new center plans to discuss and research other emerging technologies, such as CRISPR and low-cost synthetic biology, smart cities and IoT devices that connect to and monitor other IoT devices, swarms of Internet-connected drones that can fly autonomously over hundreds of miles or can stay aloft for years at a time, additive printers and subtractive CNC machines for on-demand small batch manufacturing, AI generated news and entertainment, an increasingly disintermediated media environment, and a society whose laws and norms are adapting to an era of rapid climate change.

The NGTC has a podcast, Tech Refactored, in which they focus on the center's work and what it means to launch a center during the 2020 global pandemic. More can be found on their website at https://ngtc.unl.edu.

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