Uber, Ford, Volvo and BMW, what do these brands have in common? They have all wither announced big plans for self-driving cars or have actually started implementing it in some ways. Just last week, Uber rolled out its first self-driven cars on the streets of the US city of Pittsburgh and since then, it has been met with reactions from different directions. But one thing is clear by to the public and that’s the fact that self-driving cars are no longer just what we see in movies of read as research on paper, it’s now a reality and looks like it’s here to stay.
But first the industry needed the powerful nod of the government which regulates road activities in the first place and with other technologies, the US government seemed to be the first one to accept this and now we hear they are coming up with a regulation for this. Like the era of the commercial drones, there were reports of these drones clashing with commercial flights sometimes and this led to a series of regulations by the America Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Some of the laws required drones to fly at certain feet and avoid other areas reserved for commercial and military flights.
Just yesterday, the Obama administration announced that it was looking at ways of reviewing and approving the technology for self-driven cars before they go fully commercial. In an article written by the US President Barack Obama in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he said the following
“Right now, too many people die on our roads – 35,200 last year alone – with 94 percent of those the result of human error or choice. Automated vehicles have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives each year. And right now, for too many senior citizens and Americans with disabilities, driving isn’t an option. Automated vehicles could change their lives.
Safer, more accessible driving. Less congested, less polluted roads. That’s what harnessing technology for good can look like. But we have to get it right. Americans deserve to know they’ll be safe today even as we develop and deploy the technologies of tomorrow.
That’s why my administration is rolling out new rules of the road for automated vehicles – guidance that the manufacturers developing self-driving cars should follow to keep us safe. And we’re asking them to sign a 15-point safety checklist showing not just the government, but every interested American, how they’re doing it.”
He is also wants states in the US to follow suit and don’t have to come up with a new set of rules that may make it harder for this technology to flourish in the United States.
Following his article was an announcement on the subject by the US Transport Secretary, Anthony Foxx who said his department welcomes more discussion and debate from everyone in line with carrying states and other stakeholders along. States like California which has seen much of this Silicon Valley based tests say they will rather wait for the upcoming regulations before they make a choice whether to add to it or simply follow it. States like Michigan which is home to automakers including Ford which has announced self-driving plans of its own say is moving ahead with legislation to welcome the technology on its road by not requiring that a licensed driver be in a self-driven car on test.
The New York Times however reported that Google, Uber and Lyft, through a trade association in which they are members, also hailed the guidelines. “State and local governments also have complementary responsibilities and should work with the federal government to achieve and maintain our status as world leaders in innovation,” said David Strickland, general counsel for the trade group, Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets.
Uber’s rival i n the United States Lyft has set 2021 as the year for its own self-driving scheme too. So this is is becoming a real thing people.