Feds Seek to Steer Self-Driving Cars
September 19, 2016
The Obama administration is seeking to steer the rapidly growing
industry of automated vehicles.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Monday said the federal
government intends to set the safety standards for cars of the future in
which no human is involved in the driving, even while individual states
still regulate cars with humans behind the wheel.
States, Foxx said, should stick to registering cars and dealing with
questions of liability when they crash.
The administration, in its most comprehensive statement yet on
autonomous cars, also gave a strong backing to the industry that it says
will make the nation's roads safer and more efficient.
"We envision in the future, you can take your hands off the wheel, and
your commute becomes restful or productive instead of frustrating and
exhausting," said Jeffrey Zients, director of the National Economic
Council, adding that highly automated vehicles "will save time, money
Department of Transportation announced a 15-point safety standard for
the design and development of autonomous vehicles, including the
vehicle's perception and response functionality, how well the cars
manage in case of technical failures, data recording and information
sharing capabilities, user privacy and security from hacking.
Traditional automakers and tech companies have been testing self-driving
prototypes on public roads for several years, with a human in the
driver's seat just in case. The results suggest that what once seemed
like a technology perpetually over the horizon now appears to be fast
approaching, especially with car companies announcing a series of
investments and acquisitions in recent months.
Foxx and Zients spoke to reporters ahead of a news conference scheduled
for Tuesday, at which they plan to provide greater detail of their
guidance to automakers and states.