The federal government is paving the way for self-driving vehicles to become commonplace on U.S roads. Tuesday morning, the Department of Transportation is slated to release guidelines for the testing and deployment of automated vehicles. Government officials say autonomous vehicles will make transportation safer, more accessible, more efficient and cleaner.
“Typically, we would say a car has to meet X standard a certain way,” said Anthony Foxx, Secretary of Transportation. “We recognize that there are going to be different types of innovation that will come to us, and we intend to evaluate each of those on its own returns.”
The new guidelines detail how the vehicles should perform, and include a model for state policies. They include a 15-point safety assessment for vehicles, which is left open-ended. There aren’t benchmarks clearly drawn in the sand for the different categories, which include crashworthiness, privacy, vehicle cybersecurity, ethical considerations and how a vehicle sees the road.
Aside from the convenience factor, self driving cars have a large potential to reduce deaths caused by distracted drivers.
President Barack Obama expressed support for the plan in an op-ed for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, saying that self-driving cars could help reduce the more than 35,000 deaths that occurred last year on American roads.
“Automated vehicles have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives each year,” he wrote. “But we have to get it right. Americans deserve to know they’ll be safe today even as we develop and deploy the technologies of tomorrow.”
Each day in the United States, over 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.
The average speed in the US is about 55mph. Taking five seconds to read a text in this time means that the driver travels the length of a football field without looking at the road, or being distracted. There are so many vehicles on the road now that this means there is a huge chance of something terrible happening in this distance. Self-driving cars have the potential to be the solution.
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Thanks to: CNN Money