Rooftop Law School: The Trolley Problem, Law, and Autonomous Vehicles

April 29, 2020 2 min read
rooftop law school trolley problem law autonomous vehicles

If you told me three to four years ago when I started this company that in 2020 there would be no autonomous regulations across the state and federal level, I would have been surprised. — Qasar Younis

On April 22, Ironclad held its first virtual Rooftop Law School on the regulatory and ethical challenges of autonomous vehicles with Applied Intuition, a startup providing simulation software and infrastructure to test autonomous systems.

Our panelists included:

  • Qasar Younis, CEO at Applied Intuition, and most recently the COO at Y Combinator. Before his current role Qasar had founded another startup that was acquired by Google Maps and also worked as an automotive engineer at GM and Bosch.
  • Matthew Colford is currently a JD/MBA candidate at Stanford, where he is a Knight-Hennessy Scholar. Prior to that, he was General Manager and Head of Policy at Applied Intuition.
  • Antonio Perez is a legal engineer at Ironclad. Previously, he was a transactional attorney based in New York City, where he advised governments, banks, and other institutional lenders on leases and purchase agreements involving global transportation assets.
  • James Honsa is a legal engineering manager at Ironclad. Previously he was at Dropbox, a customer of Ironclad as a Senior Analyst on the Commercial Legal Team.

Hear what the panel discussed regarding various jurisdictions and how companies are approaching the ethics of autonomous driving. Watch our on-demand video.


  • Ethical Issues Around Autonomous Vehicles (AV) – 6:08
  • Testing AV Sub-decisions – 11:43
  • Past Case Law and AV Jurisdictions – 20:56
  • Issues Framing the AV Discussion – 24:33
  • Federal Government Should Own Jurisdiction Over Autonomy – 28:01
  • Case Law and Product Liability – 32:05
  • Regulatory Structure to Improve Safety – 40:10
  • How to Counter Bias in Technology – 43:20
  • How to Achieve National Safety Clearance – 48:24
  • Future of AV – 53:44

There’s zero case law around autonomous vehicles, specifically around the liability issues that exist. There’s plenty of case law around automotive product liability.  — Matthew Colford

What is Rooftop Law School?

Designed for lawyers and non-lawyers, Rooftop Law School is an Ironclad tradition where we nerd out on legal issues of the day over beer and pizza. If you’re passionate about a particular piece of case law or legislative issue and would like to lead a future session, please email us at

About Ironclad

Ironclad is the #1 contract lifecycle management platform for innovative companies, powering billions of contracts every year. Salesforce, L’Oréal, OpenAI and other leading innovators use Ironclad to collaborate and negotiate on contracts, accelerate contracting while maintaining compliance, and turn contracts into critical carriers of operational business intelligence. It’s the only platform flexible enough to handle every type of contract workflow, whether a sales agreement, an HR agreement or a complex NDA. In 2023, Ironclad was named a Leader in the Forrester Wave for Contract Lifecycle Management, as well as named to the Forbes AI 50 2023 list and a Top Company to Bet Your Career On by Business Insider.

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