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WHAT WITH my muted enthusiasm for self-driving vehicles, I confess to a bit of cherry-picking by gleaning highlights from the article “Self-Driving Policy Vacuum?” by Eric Kulisch in Automotive News, June 19, 2017.
Eric Kulisch begins this article with a truism on the matter: “Autonomous driving technology moves fast. The federal government doesn’t.”
Leaving it to state DMVs doesn’t help either: Mitch Bainwoll, CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said in Senate Commerce Committee testimony, “A patchwork of different requirements across states is a recipe for delayed deployment, and delayed realization of the safety and mobility benefits of autonomy.”
Kulisch notes, “Senators John Thune, R-S.D.; Bill Nelson, D-Fla.; and Gary Peters, D-Mich. have released principles they plan to follow in drafting legislation in the next few weeks.” Included are prioritize safety; modernize existing performance standards to address autonomous vehicles; ensure technical neutrality; clarify separation of authorities; address cybersecurity vulnerabilities; and address how companies can educate the public on self-driving vehicles.
I’ve touched on some of the technical and ethical challenges in transition to self-driving vehicles. For the government’s definitions, see SimanaitisSays “Autonomous Blues. For ethical aspects, see ”Autonomous Kills, tracing all the way back to the philosophical quandary “On Bilingual Trolley Accidents.”
As for the public’s readiness for vehicle autonomy, see Automotive News Editor-in-Chief Keith Crain’s “Who Wants Driverless Cars?” He wrote, “By now, I would have thought that someone somewhere would have insisted that we find out if people really want these options, and if they do, at what price. Of course, this might contradict what everyone wants to hear.”
There I go, cherry-picking again. And, note, Keith Crain is another gray-top….
Kulisch’s article notes there are 16 bills currently in both chambers of Congress related to self-driving cars. What’s more, he writes, “… lawmakers and regulators at the state level had had a head start…. So far this year, 70 bills in 30 states have been proposed, according to industry lobbyists.”
Kulisch writes, “Federal safety standards for conventional vehicles preempt state rules, enabling automakers to sell the same car or truck in all states. But states have authority to set testing, reporting, liability, insurance, and other requirements related to vehicle behavior on the road.”
Speaking of behavior, I perceive another challenge: The Trump administration’s ignorance of science has become legendary. And its grasp of ethics, another nuance of vehicle autonomy, is alarming.
The show ain’t over ’til the self-driving car beeps. Or tweets? ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2017