People who insist only government is capable of protecting us against any hazard wasted no time in criticizing proposed new federal guidelines for autonomous vehicle makers. “This is a science experiment playing out in real time on our roadways without any safeguards or assurances,” insisted Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao revealed plans for the guidelines, referring to them as “AV 4.0,” on Wednesday. She did so at a technology show in Las Vegas.

Autonomous vehicles — self-driving cars and trucks, some call them — remain a technology with plenty of bugs to work out. Those concerned about them point out that they can be dangerous.

Indeed, they have resulted in crashes. One in 2018 in Arizona killed a pedestrian.

Chao’s policy outline called for “voluntary consensus standards” on AV safety. Her failure to go into detail about them drew some criticism — as it should. Clearly, specific aspects of AV design and operation need to be covered, even in “voluntary consensus” plans.

But over-regulating the burgeoning industry could cripple it, quite possibly leading to foreign domination of the AV market in the future.

Some intervention by Washington is desirable. For example, the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended AV developers be required to submit safety reports. Under current policy, such reports are voluntary and, according to The Associated Press, “only 16 of about 80 companies testing self-driving vehicles have filed them ...”

Surely federal regulators can come up with a reasonable compromise. Americans do want self-driving vehicles — but they do not want to be scared to death of them.

(6) comments

newshound

The whole ideas of self-driving vehicles is utter nonsense pushed by weirdos and other ludicrous people trying to make a fortune. It will never work.

Whalebroc

Au contraire Mr/Ms Editor. That is the American way. Scare the h3ck out of the public with some facts, many exaggerations, and lots of lies. The heavy hand of govt must be involved in every aspect of every business; especially when lib/progs are in charge of the “heavy hand”. Just look at the entire “global warming” cabal’s tactics.

I am not saying this issue needs no regs and oversight. It will be one of the biggest and most complicated transitions of technology ever undertaken. Safety and caution should be a major concern.

LVW

Whaler: More and more, your posts remind me of the old saw, "If your only tool is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail."

Whalebroc

LV, what are you talking about. I agreed with your side about needing “some regulation”. Wow, throw you a bone and you try to cut me off at the knees.

I guess that other old saw applies, “No good deed goes unpunished”.

And don’t tell me you’re going to be a “denier” of this new technology. It’s “progress”.

LVW

Whaler: I was just referring to your "heavy hand of government" schtick. As we talked about yesterday, the idea of relying on even more technology we don't understand and can't fix is pretty scary, especially regarding something so potentially deadly. (And I hope you had fun yesterday in that hurricane.)

Whalebroc

I knew what you were referring to.....again, just thought you might be appeased by the other “bone”.

It was interesting on a few of the exposed areas. I was waiting to see the wicked witch, up in the air, pedaling across the sky.....or Auntie Em yelling “Dorothy, Dorothy!”

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