Corporate giants’ autonomous obsession

Corporate giants’ autonomous obsession

A self-driving syndicate of tech and car companies is pushing hard to get the world into autonomous robo-cars.

The coalition names Google, Uber and Ford among its membership, and aims to urge government action on creating a cohesive and common set of laws to replace the current mix n’ match approach where regulations can differ wildly from state to state.

“The best path for this innovation is to have one clear set of federal standards,” ex-US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official David Strickland said.

“The coalition will work with policymakers to find the right solutions that will facilitate the deployment of self-driving vehicles.”

Issues like liability are further clouding an already-complicated space where a variety of standards and rules make simply comparing technologies a daunting task.

Driverless cars are being developed by numerous companies. Proponents say self-driving tech has the potential to be much safer than standard human driving, though policymakers are likely to have many concerns about the implications of letting a machine take the wheel.

“1.3 million people die every year in traffic accidents — many of them young people,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement. “Self-driving cars can help save millions of lives as well as cut congestion in our cities.”

Ford echoed and expanded on that sentiment. “We believe fully autonomous vehicles will help people travel more safely and efficiently, as well as facilitate mobility for those currently unable to drive,” the automaker said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Google acknowledged that one of its self-driving cars was at least partly responsible for a minor accident involving a bus.

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