Government Pleads For Safe – Not Cool – Autonomous Cars
The race is on for automakers to engineer and release cars that can drive themselves. Tesla has its Autopilot, Nissan is rolling out cars in Japan that can navigate highways alone, and BMW has announced its self-driving team. While the government is enthusiastic about the technology, officials are starting to pump the brakes a bit and ask for the industry to be cautious.
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According to Mashable, 98% of crashes in America are due to human error, so hopefully self-driving cars would make roads considerably safer. In fact, the US Department of Transportation estimates that crashes and accidents could drop by 80% on highways and side streets populated by cars being driven by computers. However, recent incidents with the driving systems on the road today remind us that not all pieces of technology are perfect.
In light of these recent events, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has stressed that automakers need to focus more on making safe self-driving technology, instead of just cool. He worries that the rush to be first will lead to systems that are not fully tested and worked with to ensure accuracy.
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The Secretary spoke out at the Automated Vehicle Symposium in San Francisco last week, deep in the part of the country that is working hardest for self-driving cars. Lawmakers are currently trying to decide the best way to regulate these vehicle systems, and they are moving faster than ever thanks to recent accidents. The publicity surrounding Tesla’s fatal crashes could mean that autonomous regulations put in place will be very strict, but consumers should be assured that the US government, at least under this president, is committed to automating cars while still saving lives.
News Source: Mashable