Self-Driving Car Updates

2 03 2017

Dale BertramHere is some news on self-driving vehicles:

  • The need to regulate what constitutes a self-driving car is moving forward as states are working to establish regulations for the testing, use and sale of these vehicles. Michigan became the first state to sign legislation. Not surprising, Ford, General Motors, Google, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota, Uber and Lyft helped.  This legislation allows for a car without a steering wheel or a brake pedal,  and a person does not have to be in the front seat.  Automakers are glad for a start but they prefer, of course, federal legislation rather than a state-by-state approach.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA asked manufacturers to submit a 15-point safety assessment to share what they were doing to ensure the physical safety of consumers as well as their privacy.
  • NHTSA will interpret the “self-driving system” Google has created as “the driver” rather than human occupants of the vehicle. Naturally there are a lot of legal questions when it comes to self-driving vehicles because if anything goes wrong…who is responsible?  It is difficult to “sue” a car or decide whose insurance must pay.
  • Google’s concern when it comes to safety of self-driving vehicles is the human element. They informed NHTSA that if humans try to interfere with steering, acceleration, or braking it could be a hazard to safety.  They prefer the human element be omitted completely from the equation.

We will continue to wait as the legislation is written and rewritten and meanwhile more and more advances into self-driving cars will come into play.  Will this take months or years?

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