US transport regulators may waive some safety rules to spur self-driving cars

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
The U.S. Transportation Department may waive some safety rules to make it easier for automakers to test self-driving vehicles, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced at a Thursday event in Detroit.




Safety regulators are expected to establish "best practices" guidelines for self-driving cars within six months, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will exempt as many as 2,500 vehicles from safety standards for up to two years, Reuters reported. U.S. President Barack Obama will additionally ask Congress to approve almost $4 billion over 10 years to speed up development.

The government may also bend its interpretation of rules to be more friendly to corporations, under the condition that businesses show their vehicles are safe. The NHTSA confirmed, for instance, that a BMW remote parking feature meets federal standards.

The organization will also work with states on developing uniform regulations, addressing one of the biggest auto industry complaints, and urge automakers to get exemptions when needed.

Thursday's event was attended by Google and Tesla -- two of the leaders in self-driving technology -- as well as some major established companies.

Absent in any official capacity, at least, was Apple, which is believed to be developing an electric vehicle for launch in 2019 or 2020. Although the first model may or may not be human-driven, Apple is thought to be working on self-driving systems regardless, and will need a clear regulatory path to achieve its aims.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    irelandireland Posts: 17,669member
    There needs to also be a federal law to allow car makers to sell direct.
    lostkiwinolamacguy
  • Reply 2 of 25
    ireland said:
    There needs to also be a federal law to allow car makers to sell direct.
    Agreed!
    lostkiwi
  • Reply 3 of 25
    Waiting to see what their reaction will be when the first death caused by a software bug will occur ....

    (NB : my background is in certification of critical embarked aerospace software (=Level A; ED-12B/C ;  DO-178B/C))
    edited January 2016 dysamoriaDeeeds
  • Reply 4 of 25
    hydrogen said:
    Waiting to see what their reaction will be when the first death caused by a software bug will occur ....
    Unfortunately, the overreaction will be huge. Not an overreaction in the sense that a life lost wouldn't matter, but I imagine the news would sensationalize such a death. While at the same time, we hardly seem to notice deaths caused by distracted driving, impaired driving, or human mistakes. For self-driving cars to go to market, the auto industry will need to show a dramatic safety benefit.
    gatorguylostkiwi
  • Reply 5 of 25
    ireland said:
    There needs to also be a federal law to allow car makers to sell direct.
    I completely agree with that. 
  • Reply 6 of 25
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,007member
    benjer said:
    hydrogen said:
    Waiting to see what their reaction will be when the first death caused by a software bug will occur ....
    Unfortunately, the overreaction will be huge. Not an overreaction in the sense that a life lost wouldn't matter, but I imagine the news would sensationalize such a death. While at the same time, we hardly seem to notice deaths caused by distracted driving, impaired driving, or human mistakes. For self-driving cars to go to market, the auto industry will need to show a dramatic safety benefit.
    If it is Apple iCar, yes.  If it is Google whatever it is called, the media will be easily convinced by Google that it is normal.  
    hydrogen
  • Reply 7 of 25
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,096member
    tzeshan said:
    benjer said:
    hydrogen said:
    Waiting to see what their reaction will be when the first death caused by a software bug will occur ....
    Unfortunately, the overreaction will be huge. Not an overreaction in the sense that a life lost wouldn't matter, but I imagine the news would sensationalize such a death. While at the same time, we hardly seem to notice deaths caused by distracted driving, impaired driving, or human mistakes. For self-driving cars to go to market, the auto industry will need to show a dramatic safety benefit.
    If it is Apple iCar, yes.  If it is Google whatever it is called, the media will be easily convinced by Google that it is normal.  
    Google (and maybe Apple) isn't the only company with self-driving car plans. BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Ford, GM. . . Heck, just about every major car manufacturer is in the game. Google is just one of many. 
  • Reply 8 of 25
    tzeshan said:
    benjer said:
    Unfortunately, the overreaction will be huge. Not an overreaction in the sense that a life lost wouldn't matter, but I imagine the news would sensationalize such a death. While at the same time, we hardly seem to notice deaths caused by distracted driving, impaired driving, or human mistakes. For self-driving cars to go to market, the auto industry will need to show a dramatic safety benefit.
    If it is Apple iCar, yes.  If it is Google whatever it is called, the media will be easily convinced by Google that it is normal.  
    In terms of media coverage, yes. But in terms of safety regulators reaction, this is another story, at least if it can be demonstrated that the bug causing the catastrophic event cannot be related to a non adherence to the existing rules, because in this case the only possible safety authorities answer would be to strengthen the rules, and come closer to what is done in aeronautics (which automotive industry is very reluctant to, because it would not only result in skyrocketing development costs, but also massively increased time to market).

    Of course, I know that a cynical viewpoint could be that in aeronautics, a catastrophic event leading to loss of human lives usually result in the death of all passengers, which is in the hundreds, whereas a car collision result in one or two orders of magnitude less (but "compensated" (in statistical terms...) , very likely, by the difference of magnitude in the number of cars versus planes).

    AND (last comment), let's not forget that the automotive market being a worldwide market, safety authorities all over the world (across the Atlantic, and beyond) need to come to a common answer to these issues, as it has been the case in aeronautics, and this will take time , a lot of time ....
    edited January 2016
  • Reply 9 of 25
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,656member
    hydrogen said:
    Waiting to see what their reaction will be when the first death caused by a software bug will occur ....

    (NB : my background is in certification of critical embarked aerospace software (=Level A; ED-12B/C ;  DO-178B/C))

    Actually I want to know if the car will kill the deer or you, the idiot who decided to run out in front of your car. Well know that Most people in California rather save and animal of a human, the last things I want them do is programming the control system on a self driving car for an area which is prone to having deer and small fluffy animals jump out in front of your car.
  • Reply 10 of 25
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,656member
    benjer said:
    hydrogen said:
    Waiting to see what their reaction will be when the first death caused by a software bug will occur ....
    Unfortunately, the overreaction will be huge. Not an overreaction in the sense that a life lost wouldn't matter, but I imagine the news would sensationalize such a death. While at the same time, we hardly seem to notice deaths caused by distracted driving, impaired driving, or human mistakes. For self-driving cars to go to market, the auto industry will need to show a dramatic safety benefit.


    Let not forget the idiots in Toyota with stuck gas pedals who could not seem to figure out that you can always turn off the engine to get the car to stop, no they just choose to keep driving a high rate of speed and crash into something. Self driving cars will just add to the stupidfication of the US drivers. Honestly if you do not know how a car works you should not be allow to drive. Oh let not forget about the people I left their cars running in their garages because the keyless ignitions, most them killed themselves.

  • Reply 11 of 25
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,007member
    gatorguy said:
    tzeshan said:
    If it is Apple iCar, yes.  If it is Google whatever it is called, the media will be easily convinced by Google that it is normal.  
    Google (and maybe Apple) isn't the only company with self-driving car plans. BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Ford, GM. . . Heck, just about every major car manufacturer is in the game. Google is just one of many. 
    If after a software update, many self driving cars crashes on the freeway, I don't think Google will admit it is due to the software.  How do you decided the responsibility? 
  • Reply 12 of 25
    One thing I'm curious about is how a car on autopilot would respond if pulled over by a police car.  Would they know to stop?  Wonder how that would work
    muppetry
  • Reply 13 of 25
    This TED video offers some interesting thoughts on self driving cars. There are a lot of decisions we need to make as a society before we get to widespread autonomous car use.  






  • Reply 14 of 25
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,980member
    gatorguy said:
    tzeshan said:
    If it is Apple iCar, yes.  If it is Google whatever it is called, the media will be easily convinced by Google that it is normal.  
    Google (and maybe Apple) isn't the only company with self-driving car plans. BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Ford, GM. . . Heck, just about every major car manufacturer is in the game. Google is just one of many. 
    Are we still required to obtain driver license anymore? I guess not.
    edited January 2016
  • Reply 15 of 25
    josujosu Posts: 217member
    ireland said:
    There needs to also be a federal law to allow car makers to sell direct.
    Was the government the first that banned carmakers to sell direct.
  • Reply 16 of 25
    josujosu Posts: 217member

    fallenjt said:
    gatorguy said:
    Google (and maybe Apple) isn't the only company with self-driving car plans. BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Ford, GM. . . Heck, just about every major car manufacturer is in the game. Google is just one of many. 
    Are we still required to obtain driver license anymore? I guess not.
    To me is enough if they lower the sighting standard, right now I can't renovate my driving license because I'm on the wrong side of the limit, by a slim margin, but in the wrong.
  • Reply 17 of 25
    morkymorky Posts: 179member
    I'm recently a car owner for the first time in 20 years, and after a month all I can say is self-driving cars can't come soon enough. There are far too many people who simply should not be allowed to control a vehicle. Mainly it's the crazies who think it's critical to weave in traffic to get to their destination three minutes faster that make driving miserable.
    gatorguylostkiwi
  • Reply 18 of 25
    One thing I'm curious about is how a car on autopilot would respond if pulled over by a police car.  Would they know to stop?  Wonder how that would work
    Pretty sure the police would either call in a code to the manufacturer or they'd already have a database available which they could use to safely disable the vehicle.
  • Reply 19 of 25
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,656member
    morky said:
    I'm recently a car owner for the first time in 20 years, and after a month all I can say is self-driving cars can't come soon enough. There are far too many people who simply should not be allowed to control a vehicle. Mainly it's the crazies who think it's critical to weave in traffic to get to their destination three minutes faster that make driving miserable.


    Actually they do not get there faster they only think they do. I believe the US should use the German method of giving out licenses which is you have to show a complete understanding of how a car works and how to drive it. But the US will not, it is all about the $ in the use the only care about selling more cars and making all the taxes and such of the cost of owning a car. They will let anyone drive no matter what, they see the downside as less then the upside of having bad drivers on the road.

    Interesting point about your weaving comment, all the simulations I have seen about self driving cars or pods, is the fact they can weave in and out of each others with out issues, the people working on this know weaving the major issue. In Calif which lived out there the fast way to get a ticket was to be seen weaving, you could be speeding and not get pulled over.

  • Reply 20 of 25
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    hydrogen said:
    Waiting to see what their reaction will be when the first death caused by a software bug will occur ....

    (NB : my background is in certification of critical embarked aerospace software (=Level A; ED-12B/C ;  DO-178B/C))
    what did they do after the first death caused by hardware failure? nothing new.
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