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US Feds ironing out rules for autonomous cars

Posted Oct 25th 2012 6:30PM


With the increasing development of autonomous vehicles, and even some states issuing licenses for self-driving cars, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (our Transport Canada) decided it was high time to lay out a set of rules for these advanced vehicles. According to a Detroit News report, US NHTSA is embarking on a research project that could take two to three years, at the conclusion of which, the administration will write rules to govern driverless cars.

According to the report US NHSTA administrator David Sctrickland says the technology could possibly save "thousands of lives." It was also reported that NHTSA has been in talks with a number of companies, including Google, regarding the implementation and development of this technology. Google has been testing its own fleet of driverless cars, logging over 480,000 kilometres (300,000 miles) on American roads. The tech company says autonomous vehicles could be made available to the public in the next ten years.

The technology has profound implications on the automotive industry and car culture. Strickland calls it a "game changer" and could make it possible for blind drivers or senior citizens who would otherwise have their licenses revoked, the ability to get around town. The savings from cutting down on congestion could result in as much as US$100 billion in fuel savings.

But before that, US NHTSA says it needs to determine the effectiveness and reliability of these driverless cars. In addition, new crash test standards may need to be developed for these autonomous vehicles. According to Strickland, "We don't want this technology to be commercially available and then there be a vacuum of no federal motor vehicle safety standards." To that end, US NHTSA says there is a huge amount of work to be done before autonomous vehicles hit the roads.

It will be interesting to see what Transport Canada will have to say about all this new technology. For now, this is what they have in regards to autonomous route guidance.

News Source: The Detroit News

Image Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty

Volvo Vision 2020 - Autonomous Driving


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