Words of Caution on Self-Driving Cars

 

 

 

 

On October 25, 2017, the New York Times printed the following letter written by Joan Claybrook, former administrator of the National Traffic Safety Administration, regarding what she regards as a “rush” to bring self-driving cars to market:On October 25, 2017, the New York Times printed the following letter written by Joan Claybrook, former administrator of the National Traffic Safety Administration, regarding what she regards as a “rush” to bring self-driving cars to market:

 

 

“TO THE EDITOR: Your Oct. 15 editorial “Not So Fast on Self Driving Cars” hits target. Manufacturers and high-tech companies want to rush sales of robot cars to recoup the billions they are investing. But there are huge unknowns in the technology, vehicle safety, driver capability, application of state laws, insurance, public acceptance and how many lives might be saved.

Seeking to persuade the public, the industry claims that these vehicles would save many lives, but no solid studies document this assertion, and trust in the manufacturers’ veracity these days is minimal.

Most concerning, manufacturers are using their lobbying might to push legislation exempting driverless cars from existing safety standards so they can be sold quickly, thus authorizing them to sell now and evaluate later. There are no requirements for electronic safety performance, protection against devastating cyberattacks, identifying cars as being driverless or collecting crash involvement data. Gradual, incremental introduction of this radical technology is the only sane route to travel.”

Joan Claybrook, Washington, former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 

Sounds to me like Ms. Claybrook is saying “look before you leap”, and that is always good advice.

 

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