Vehicles, machines that helped people to succeed in throwing of the shackles of human- or animal-powered transportation, have long been developing but stayed fundamentally the same. Save for technological innovations, vehicles have remained dependent on humans. New, conceptually different vehicles have started cropping up because of their Artificial Intelligent (A.I.) systems. These systems enable autonomous operating vehicles. What is peculiar to the autonomous vehicles is that they will no longer be depended on human control but operate at the same level as humans. In the light of that, judges are about to face emerging problems connected with adapting legislation to the technology development. The notion ‘adapting’ should be stressed here due to the fact that creating the convention which will always comply with the technology development is almost impossible. At the level of international conventions the framework for their interpretation based on Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT) allows for stretching the currently existing concepts and adapting them among the others to technological change. This, however, has some boundaries because the interpretation needs always to be imbedded in parties’ will. The judges will also need to consider the evolving initiatives concerning autonomous vehicles, because these might collide with mandatory international conventions. The aim of this article is to analyze whether the CMR is future-proof for autonomous transportation. The functional aspects of dealing with autonomous vehicles are compiled with the instruments for the treaty interpretation to investigate what the consequences of adapting the concept of vehicle are. Within the CMR convention, the use of autonomous vehicles seems to stretch the current concepts and framework to its limits, giving rise to the question when the moment comes when stretching the framework leads to breaking the framework of the CMR convention.

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Journal European Journal of Commercial Contract Law
Kolacz, M.K, & Hopster, G. (2017). When Technology takes the Wheel Is the CMR ready to meet the demand for Autonomous Transportation?. European Journal of Commercial Contract Law, 2017(1/2), 41–48. Retrieved from