Legislating For Mandatory Software Updates

From the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018, I notice the following:

4 Accident resulting from unauthorised software alterations or failure to update software

(1) An insurance policy in respect of an automated vehicle may exclude or limit the insurer’s liability under section 2(1) for damage suffered by an insured person arising from an accident occurring as a direct result of—
(a) software alterations made by the insured person, or with the insured person’s knowledge, that are prohibited under the policy, or
(b) a failure to install safety-critical software updates that the insured person knows, or ought reasonably to know, are safety-critical.

(2) But as regards liability for damage suffered by an insured person who is not the holder of the policy, subsection (1)(a) applies only in relation to software alterations which, at the time of the accident, the person knows are prohibited under the policy.

(3) Subsection (4) applies where an amount is paid by an insurer under section 2(1) in respect of damage suffered, as a result of an accident, by someone who is not insured under the policy in question.

(4) If the accident occurred as a direct result of—
(a) software alterations made by an insured person, or with an insured person’s knowledge, that were prohibited under the policy, or
(b) a failure to install safety-critical software updates that an insured person knew, or ought reasonably to have known, were safety-critical,the amount paid by the insurer is recoverable from that person to the extent provided for by the policy.

(5) But as regards recovery from an insured person who is not the holder of the policy, subsection (4)(a) applies only in relation to software alterations which, at the time of the accident, the person knew were prohibited under the policy.

(6) For the purposes of this section—
(a) “software alterations” and “software updates”, in relation to an automated vehicle, mean (respectively) alterations and updates to the vehicle’s software;
(b) software updates are “safety-critical” if it would be unsafe to use the vehicle in question without the updates being installed.

It looks like this is the first time that “software update” appears in legislation..

Is this the start of things to come?

And what tools exist on the legislation.gov.uk and parliament.uk websites to make it easier to keep track of such phrases in passed, enacted and draft legislation?

PS Michael posted some useful thoughts lately on why the Parliament website isn’t for everyone. It also reminded of an important rule when writing bids for outreach activities: “if you claim the project event is for everybody, that means it’s targeted at nobody and won’t be funded”. After all, who should go, and why?

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