The US House’s Highways and Transit Subcommittee held a hearing on autonomous vehicles. It’s concerned at reports from some motor manufacturers that the first autonomous vehicles will be launched on to the market by 2020. Mike Robinson of GM thought this pace of development was overly optimistic. He believes humans will have to remain in control for longer, reflecting some doubt as to whether the public will accept this technology. It’s going to cost more in retail price to sit and be driven. It may take time to overcome the resistance of those who prefer to remain in control.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has already launched a formal research effort into the technology. David Strickland indicted the need for a federal approach. Leaving it to individual states to license the use of these vehicles is going to distort the market. More importantly, there should be federal legislation to offer some degree of protection to the manufacturers while the technology is being rolled out. There’s a danger of frivolous lawsuits unfairly damaging the reputation of the technology before the public has had a chance to see whether it performs as expected.