Regulators Get Input – Sort Of – On Self-Driving Car Rollout
by Justin Pritchard, Associated Press
California regulators deciding how to permit the future rollout of self-driving cars have been told by consumer advocates that their cautious approach was right on, and by companies developing the technology that the current course will delay deployment of vehicles that promise huge safety benefits.
The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles heard the comments Thursday at a workshop as it wrestles with how to keep the public safe as the imperfect technology matures – but not regulate so heavily that the agency stifles development of the vehicles.
The agency sought suggestions of possible changes to a draft of precedent-setting regulations it released last month. Those regulations will govern how Californians can get the cars once companies move beyond their current testing of prototypes.
Because California has been a hotbed for the development and regulation of the technology, what happens in the state has ripple effects nationally.
What the DMV had hoped would be a technical discussion Thursday about legal language instead drifted toward broad statements about the technology’s merits.
Most vocal were advocates for the blind – a group that has not been central to the regulatory debate. Several argued the technology could change their lives, and the agency should not get in the way.
Editor’s note: Find the draft regulations and more information on the DMV’s Autonomous Vehicles in California Web page.