The great driverless driving experiment is in full force now and is moving from experimental to reality. Driverless cars, or what the industry calls, autonomous cars, are headed to American roadways. There is no stopping this now. The prediction, as reported in TechCrunch, is that cars without drivers will be the norm by around 2020. This will no doubt begin to have a major impact on the way we commute and travel. Without drivers, not only will the consumer’s driving experience change, but the transportation industry will also be transformed. As dire predictions continue about loss of jobs due to technological advances, driverless vehicles will mean a loss of jobs. It will also bring other challenges.
Recently, the Department of Transportation and the National Economic Council issued a preliminary plan for regulating safety of these vehicles. The federal plans are meant to begin to set standards for regulating the technology of driverless cars. In addition to the need for companies developing this technology to share information with the DOT, the federal agency is putting safety as a priority.
Safety is top of mind for all of us … advocates of autonomous vehicles argue that the roads will be safer because human error is the cause of most vehicle crashes. It stands to reason that eliminating human error will make driving safer. But how much safer and the what ifs are a concern because we have seen major unprecedented recalls in the car manufacturing and related industries in the recent past. From failing airbags to ignition switches, the list is long and painful for those whose loved ones have lost their lives or been injured by technology that was supposed to keep them safer.