Following the fatal crash of a self-driving Tesla last month, it is clear that the experimental technology used to guide these vehicles is still untested. The New York Times reported that a driver of a Tesla Model S sedan was killed when his car – which was in an experimental autonomous mode – collided with a tractor-trailer that made a left turn in front of it. It should come as no surprise that, as we've written before, most consumer still don't trust autonomous vehicles.
"The federal government may create 'pre-market approval steps' for autonomous vehicles."
And yet, it is also clear that we are quickly moving toward a day when almost all vehicles will have some form of automatic braking, and many will be fully autonomous.
To ensure that this future will be one in which vehicles are safe and reliable, the Department of Transportation has begun to work with major tech companies and automakers to create new safety rules so consumers can rely on the cars they buy.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the federal government may create "pre-market approval steps" for autonomous vehicles to ensure that they meet safety standards. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told the news source that these rules will be flexible enough to allow for significant technological innovation, but will still be much stricter than what currently exists.
"We need clear lines of responsibility between industry, government and consumers," he said.
One important component of improved regulatory insight over autonomous vehicles is better testing to ensure that all of these cars' complex systems are working as intended. A vehicle testing service can satisfy this requirement for both manufacturers and drivers.