As technologies continue to advance, so do their uses. Autonomous vehicles, or driverless vehicles, have made their way into the mainstream, and various technology and transportation companies are lobbying for the ability to test and distribute them to wider audiences.
This raises concerns among various individuals, including lawmakers. That is why they are now taking a strong stance to enhance the safety features and try to guard against possible car accidents and fatalities.
The Obama administration instituted guidelines for how creators should design, develop and test driverless vehicles, provided through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Though the intent of these guidelines is to increase safety for all, reporting safety assessment results is not mandatory. This leaves it up to the developers to decide whether to share their results, which calls into question the effectiveness of these current regulatory measures.
Many lawmakers believe there should be additional legislation and regulations in place to ensure the safe utilization of autonomous vehicles. However, legislators disagree on which methods they should employ to achieve this goal.
In general, most lawmakers agree with federal regulations monitoring and governing the use of autonomous vehicles. Some feel that it should stop there, while others think that additional patchwork rules could be beneficial. Each state would enact their own patchwork rules, allowing them to govern the use of these vehicles on a smaller scale. This added safety precaution seems reasonable to many, while others, especially developers, believe that such governance could be too restrictive and limit or slow down progress.
Considering these factors, creating and passing proper legislation is taking time. While all parties claim that the safety of individuals on the road is top priority, they have vastly different ideas of how to ensure this. In any case, it is important that drivers stay vigilant and employ proper driving methods if or when they share the streets with autonomous vehicles.