Software Governance and Automobiles: Building the Open Road

Where: Columbia Law School’s Jerome Greene Hall, 435 West 116th Street, Room 101, New York, New York.

When: April 13, 2018 9:00am to 5:30pm EDT

Who: Eben Moglen, Mishi Choudhary, Software Freedom Law Center

Video recordings available.

On April 13, SFLC and Columbia Law School will host a special one-day conference, “Software Governance and Automobiles: Building the Open Road”.

Over the next five years, the automobile industry and all developed societies will be fundamentally altered by a new union of information and automotive technologies. Software embedded in vehicles and roadways, along with traffic and movement data collected “in the cloud,” will alter the basic infrastructural details of economic and individual life. Individual safety, public security, and all basic economic activity will depend on the functioning of software in automobiles. How that software is governed (how it is maintained, repaired, inspected; who may change it how, and with what accountability; how vehicle owners and users can exercise their rights in that software, and what their rights ought to be), will determine the real social consequences hidden behind phrases like “self-driving,” “connected cars,” and “robot revolution.”

In this unique, one-day, by-invitation event held at Columbia Law School in New York City, we explore technical, legal and social questions concerning software governance in the near-term automotive future. How can innovations in software engineering help us to improve reliability and serviceability of embedded automotive software? How can user innovation be maximized, allowing car owners to modify the operation of their vehicles, while preserving safety and allowing manufacturers to limit their liability? How can vehicles be upgraded in service without also creating dangers of malware injection and privacy invasion? Presenting real-world solutions under development that maximize openness while increasing the reliability of governance, this conference aims to offer cutting-edge thinking in the context of an automotive industry undergoing revolutionary transformation.

Conference Program:

8:30am-9:00am: Coffee, Registration

9:00am-9:10am: Welcome by Professor Eben Moglen of the Software Freedom Law Center.

9:10am-9:55am: Automated Software Governance and Copyleft in Cars by Mark Shuttleworth of Canonical Ltd.

Whitepaper available.

9:55am-10:40am: Security, TiVo-ization, and FOSS Licenses: an Industry View by Daniel Patnaik of Audi.

10:40am-11:15am: Industry Transformation: From Metal-Benders to Software Companies by Jeremiah Foster, Community Manager at GENIVI Alliance and Open Source Technologist, Luxoft.

11:15am-12:00pm: Is There a Consensus Around Cars and GPLv3? Panel Discussion with Mark Shuttleworth, Eben Moglen, Daniel Patnaik, Jeremiah Foster and moderated by Mishi Choudhary of Software Freedom Law Center.

12:00pm-1:30pm: Lunch

1:30pm-2:15pm: Automotive Adoption and Governance of FOSS: Qt’s Challenges and Experience by Alistair Adams, Qt.

2:15pm-3:00pm: Systems Engineering and the Sins of Software by Nicholas McGuire of Open Source Automation Development Lab (OSADL e.G.), Safety Critical Linux Working Group.

3:00pm-3:15pm: Coffee Break

3:15pm-4:00pm: Self-Explanation and Self-Driving: How to Make Autonomous Vehicles Tell Us How They Work by Leilani H. Gilpin, Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

4:00pm-4:30pm: Accelerating the Development of Autonomous Driving Systems by Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director, Eclipse Foundation OpenADx.

4:30pm-5:00pm: Q&A and Panel Discussion on Autonomous Vehicles with Leilani Gilpin and Mike Milinkovich, moderated by Mishi and Eben.

5:00pm-5:30pm: Closing Remarks by Eben Moglen.

5:30pm: End of day.

Our conference is free of charge. To receive an invitation, email:

This event will be recorded.

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