Obama administration planning to speed up development of self-driving cars

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
The White House will reportedly announce efforts to speed up the development of self-driving cars on Thursday, something that may be of extreme interest to Apple as it readies its own such vehicle.




U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will make an appearance in Detroit to talk about the Obama administration's plans, Reuters said. Google, perhaps the best-known developer of self-driving cars, has said it will particpate in the event. The company already has prototypes driving around public roads in Mountain View, Calif. and Austin, Tex., albeit with humans onboard as a backup. Apple and most others have yet to reach that step.

Detroit automakers are also likely to be involved in the announcement.

The creation of self-driving cars has been mired by the lack of a consistent legal framework. U.S. laws aren't well-equipped to address the new technology, and where regulations do exist, they can vary from state to state, making testing in some places difficult or impossible.

In December, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration head Mark Rosekind promised a "nimble, flexible" approach to creating related rules.

The first consumer-oriented self-driving vehicles are typically thought to be years out. Apple's electric car, for instance, isn't expected to arrive until at least 2019 or 2020, and even then the first model might still be human-driven.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    Government, nimble and flexible. Those terms are mutually exclusive. 
    SpamSandwichireland
  • Reply 2 of 31
    I wonder if these new cars will have the capability of "road rage"?  This may also mean no more DUIs so less court and law enforcement cost. People with no drivers license (as myself) can now buy or rent a car? Since all responsibility for operation of the vehicle will no longer be of the "driver" accidents and deaths will be solely upon the heads of the manufacturer such as Apple? 
  • Reply 3 of 31
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,219member
    spice-boy said:
    I wonder if these new cars will have the capability of "road rage"?  This may also mean no more DUIs so less court and law enforcement cost. People with no drivers license (as myself) can now buy or rent a car? Since all responsibility for operation of the vehicle will no longer be of the "driver" accidents and deaths will be solely upon the heads of the manufacturer such as Apple? 
    If your self-driving car has an accident because you failed to maintain it or were otherwise negligent, then you may rest assured that you will be held liable.
    Soli
  • Reply 4 of 31
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,780member
    Having a government department tasked to "speed up" development of an emerging technology is tantamount to ensuring serious first-generation issues.
    potatoleeksoup
  • Reply 5 of 31
    mr. me said:
    spice-boy said:
    I wonder if these new cars will have the capability of "road rage"?  This may also mean no more DUIs so less court and law enforcement cost. People with no drivers license (as myself) can now buy or rent a car? Since all responsibility for operation of the vehicle will no longer be of the "driver" accidents and deaths will be solely upon the heads of the manufacturer such as Apple? 
    If your self-driving car has an accident because you failed to maintain it or were otherwise negligent, then you may rest assured that you will be held liable.
    Car companies are starting to prepare for a future when many people no longer buy or lease a car, they "summon" a self-driving car. This behavior is likely being driven by both Millennials (who prefer not to own things) and Boomers (whose capabilities as they age are deteriorating in massive numbers).

    Having said this, there's no frickin' reason for the Federal government to be involved in this. I smell protectionism at the insistence of Google.
    edited January 2016
  • Reply 6 of 31
    spice-boy said:
    I wonder if these new cars will have the capability of "road rage"?  This may also mean no more DUIs so less court and law enforcement cost. People with no drivers license (as myself) can now buy or rent a car? Since all responsibility for operation of the vehicle will no longer be of the "driver" accidents and deaths will be solely upon the heads of the manufacturer such as Apple? 
    Sweet little pipe dream for ya, huh? Dream on.
  • Reply 7 of 31
    rwesrwes Posts: 162member
    mr. me said:
    If your self-driving car has an accident because you failed to maintain it or were otherwise negligent, then you may rest assured that you will be held liable.
    Car companies are starting to prepare for a future when many people no longer buy or lease a car, they "summon" a self-driving car. This behavior is likely being driven by both Millennials (who prefer not to own things) and Boomers (whose capabilities as they age are deteriorating in massive numbers).

    Having said this, there's no frickin' reason for the Federal government to be involved in this. I smell protectionism at the request of Google.
    Initially @SpamSandwich, I was thinking the same; why would the Federal Government have to get involved? But after a little more thought, I'm *assuming* they mean defining Federal level rules/laws, so that each state doesn't -have to- then define their down? If that's the case and whether it's the best way to do it, only time will tell.
  • Reply 8 of 31
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,291member
    My prediction is that we will see self driving trucks first. Much easier to make long-haul truck depots along the interstates. The unions are gonna hate it, but the savings on labor, accidents, and insurance should be substantial.
  • Reply 9 of 31
    eightzero said:
    My prediction is that we will see self driving trucks first. Much easier to make long-haul truck depots along the interstates. The unions are gonna hate it, but the savings on labor, accidents, and insurance should be substantial.
    I agree. Driving the interstate is easier than navigating city streets, and the relative cost of autonomous hardware for a big rig is far lower than for a passenger car.
  • Reply 10 of 31
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,278member
    mr. me said:
    spice-boy said:
    I wonder if these new cars will have the capability of "road rage"?  This may also mean no more DUIs so less court and law enforcement cost. People with no drivers license (as myself) can now buy or rent a car? Since all responsibility for operation of the vehicle will no longer be of the "driver" accidents and deaths will be solely upon the heads of the manufacturer such as Apple? 
    If your self-driving car has an accident because you failed to maintain it or were otherwise negligent, then you may rest assured that you will be held liable.
    Car companies are starting to prepare for a future when many people no longer buy or lease a car, they "summon" a self-driving car. This behavior is likely being driven by both Millennials (who prefer not to own things) and Boomers (whose capabilities as they age are deteriorating in massive numbers).

    Having said this, there's no frickin' reason for the Federal government to be involved in this. I smell protectionism at the insistence of Google.
    Google? You do realize there's a whole lotta car companies planning for autonomous driving, right? Last I read Google isn't even building one themselves but instead working with other established automobile manufacturers. 
    edited January 2016
  • Reply 11 of 31
    This isn't a prediction. Mercedes already has developed one and is testing it in the US. eightzero said:
    My prediction is that we will see self driving trucks first. Much easier to make long-haul truck depots along the interstates. The unions are gonna hate it, but the savings on labor, accidents, and insurance should be substantial.

  • Reply 12 of 31
    spice-boy said:
    I wonder if these new cars will have the capability of "road rage"?  This may also mean no more DUIs so less court and law enforcement cost. People with no drivers license (as myself) can now buy or rent a car? Since all responsibility for operation of the vehicle will no longer be of the "driver" accidents and deaths will be solely upon the heads of the manufacturer such as Apple? 
    Get the software right (and remove the ability for a person to mess it up) and there won't be any more accidents.  
  • Reply 13 of 31
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,678member
    spice-boy said:
    I wonder if these new cars will have the capability of "road rage"?  This may also mean no more DUIs so less court and law enforcement cost. People with no drivers license (as myself) can now buy or rent a car? Since all responsibility for operation of the vehicle will no longer be of the "driver" accidents and deaths will be solely upon the heads of the manufacturer such as Apple? 
    Don't conflate self-driving cars with pilot-less vehicles. We are a very long ways off from that. This is simply the next step in a century-long effort to make driving safer, more convenient, and more efficient. Just like you can risk driving drunk now, you will also be able to risk it in the future, but don't expect that in your lifetime you can literally get behind the wheel, set the car off to drive you home, and not be responsible if you're involved in an accident. Even if you are found not to be at fault for the accident you will still get charged. You are the pilot. You need to be ready to react to things the computers can't anticipate, just like with airplanes. This extends to sleeping behind the wheel and other potential hazards, which makes me think that cameras facing the driver and making sure they are "on the ready" will be needed (outside of some closed autonomous vehicle lane). 
    edited January 2016
  • Reply 14 of 31
    mr. me said:
    spice-boy said:
    I wonder if these new cars will have the capability of "road rage"?  This may also mean no more DUIs so less court and law enforcement cost. People with no drivers license (as myself) can now buy or rent a car? Since all responsibility for operation of the vehicle will no longer be of the "driver" accidents and deaths will be solely upon the heads of the manufacturer such as Apple? 
    If your self-driving car has an accident because you failed to maintain it or were otherwise negligent, then you may rest assured that you will be held liable.
    While I don't disagree with you by and large you might find this interesting:

    http://www.theverge.com/2015/10/7/9470551/volvo-self-driving-car-liability

    Also this: http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/9/10742926/tesla-model-s-update-self-parking

    If the car drives itself without an occupant how is that non-occupant expected to be held liable?

    These are interesting times indeed.
  • Reply 15 of 31
    Soli said:
    spice-boy said:
    I wonder if these new cars will have the capability of "road rage"?  This may also mean no more DUIs so less court and law enforcement cost. People with no drivers license (as myself) can now buy or rent a car? Since all responsibility for operation of the vehicle will no longer be of the "driver" accidents and deaths will be solely upon the heads of the manufacturer such as Apple? 
    Don't conflate self-driving cars with pilot-less vehicles. We are a very long ways off from that. This is simply the next step in a century-long effort to make driving safer, more convenient, and more efficient. Just like you can risk driving drunk now, you will also be able to risk it in the future, but don't expect that in your lifetime you can literally get behind the wheel, set the car off to drive you home, and not be responsible if you're involved in an accident. Even if you are found not to be at fault for the accident you will still get charged. You are the pilot. You need to be ready to react to things the computers can't anticipate, just like with airplanes. This extends to sleeping behind the wheel and other potential hazards, which makes me think that cameras facing the driver and making sure they are "on the ready" will be needed (outside of some closed autonomous vehicle lane). 
    Within the next decade there will be cars that don't even have steering wheels.  And things will change quickly ones the stats start showing than the accidents are all caused by people driving cars instead of computers.  It is impossible for a person to react as fast as a computer driver.
    edited January 2016
  • Reply 16 of 31
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,617member


    nimble, flexible" approach to creating related rules.

    I suspect that phrase was an abuse of the English language, if there is one thing democratic governments are not it is nimble or flexible. Fear not though, that is a design feature to minimise harm. Personally I would get verry verry nervous if government actually did become consistently nimble and flexible. That way disaster and corruption lies, along with a spot of winner picking and favours.

    I am from the government and I am here to help. As Reagan said, scariest phrase eva.  

    Truth to tell though there might be a role for the Feds here, if only providing a template for state legislation.  I don't know enough about how you yanks organise your road rules to comment further.

  • Reply 17 of 31
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    Apple's car will be software-updatable.
  • Reply 18 of 31
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,278member
    ireland said:
    Apple's car will be software-updatable.
    Perhaps the filters and tires will be updatable via software too. :)
    afrodri
  • Reply 19 of 31
    Self-driving cars are in the hands of consumers now, albeit very few. Check out the YouTube videos by Tesla self-driving car owners. They may not be fully autonomous, but it's amazing what they can do. Google disagrees with Tesla's iterative approach, but I would get one if I could afford it. The comment about self-driving trucks is valid. Long-haul trucks already have an amazing amount of automation built into them.
  • Reply 20 of 31
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    mr. me said:
    If your self-driving car has an accident because you failed to maintain it or were otherwise negligent, then you may rest assured that you will be held liable.
    Car companies are starting to prepare for a future when many people no longer buy or lease a car, they "summon" a self-driving car. This behavior is likely being driven by both Millennials (who prefer not to own things) and Boomers (whose capabilities as they age are deteriorating in massive numbers).

    Having said this, there's no frickin' reason for the Federal government to be involved in this. I smell protectionism at the insistence of Google.
    It needs to be involved because well cars cross state lines... Interstate issues have always been handled by the feds and have been used to it involved in otherwise state matters.
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