Thursday, February 16, 2017

GM, Toyota Says U.S. Rules Limiting Self-Driving Cars Need to be Eased

Over the past few years, major auto manufacturers have been at the forefront of developing automated vehicles. New prototypes have been under development for months, and now the auto manufacturers are pushing for peeling back regulations concerning testing new cars in the public. General Motors and Toyota Motor Corp officials had the opportunity this week to tell a U.S. House Panel that automakers want and need changes to the current automotive safety rules in place concerning self-driven cars. Auto manufacturers are currently allowed to implement 2,500 cars that are exempt from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration vehicle rules for 12 months. With this cap in place, the prototypes will not be granted the testing pool size that is needed to create a safe and practical self-driving automobile. Legislation is currently being passed in Michigan to lift existing bans on autonomous vehicles. This has prevented further ‘fine tuning’ of autonomous vehicles, which is the last stage before implementing them across the country.

I think that reducing regulations on autonomous vehicles is a great idea. This will allow auto manufacturers to further develop their prototypes to ensure their safety for public use. Also, General Motors and Toyota aren’t the only companies pushing for less regulation; Uber and Lyft will be directly impacted as well. It would be extremely beneficial for Uber and Lyft to utilize autonomous vehicles because it will cut out the need for a driver, which would cut their costs in the long run. I also think that vehicle automation is a good idea because preventable automobile deaths due to human error will be eliminated. Without changes to the current regulations, it could be years before the potential of today’s technological capabilities are realized pertaining to automating cars.

On the other side of the argument, there are major hurdles to jump before implementing the automated prototypes. I think that there is a huge safety risk with allowing manufacturers to test drive their new cars on public roads. There could potentially be horrific consequences while the final touches are being made to implement automated cars. Many people think it’s worth the risk and are ensuring government officials that they will have self-regulatory measures to ensure everyone’s safety, yet there has been limited information released from the manufacturers concerning possible rules. Also, people will be laid off if companies such as Uber and Lyft use automated vehicles.

Vehicular automation is an unbelievable asset that could eliminate tragic preventable deaths across the country. However, I think that auto manufacturers need to agree on specific rules regarding how they will test drive their prototypes in public. I would suggest that they have an employee required to be in each test drive acting as a fail-safe mechanism, and have the ability to take over in the event of a technological malfunction. While there are many potential benefits to automated vehicles, auto company’s need to hold themselves accountable for their testing policies when they are allowed to drive in the public.

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