During a public meeting on Friday, many engineers and safety advocates told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that self-driving cars aren’t yet up to the demands of real-world driving, despite they may be the future of the automotive industry. Even the Global Automakers industry group that includes many heavyweights asked US officials to slow down while crafting regulations for self-driving technology.
Paul Scullion, safety manager at the Association of Global Automakers thinks using guidance to deviate from the government’s traditional process of issuing regulations and standards are quite risky. And according to NHTSA, issuing new regulations takes an average of eight years. However, while guidance is usually more general and open to interpretation, regulations are enforceable as well.
“While this process is often time consuming, these procedural safeguards are in place for valid reasons. Working outside that process might allow the government to respond more quickly to rapidly changing technology, but that approach would likely come at the expense of thoroughness.”
He said at the meeting.
On the other hand, Mark Rosekind, the NHTSA’s administrator, observing the irony of car makers asking for regulations, said the agency can hardly wait on the grounds that early self-driving advances are as of now in the cars on the roads. Tesla’s “autopilot” capacity, for instance, empowers its autos to consequently control down the roadway, move to another lane and adjust speed in response to traffic.
“Everybody asks, ‘When are they going to be ready?’ I keep saying they’re not coming; they are here now, people are just going to keep putting stuff out on the road with no guidance on how do we do this the right way.”
This is true that it’s hard to force changes on autos that already exist. The administration would likely consider some of Global Automakers’ recommendation but the matter is how closely it actually listens.