NHTSA Boss Says Automakers Cannot Wait For "Perfect" Self-Driving Technology

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Autonomous car technology is advancing, but recent issues have raised concerns regarding its effectiveness.
The fatal Tesla Model S accident that occurred last May is one of the most pressing subjects when autonomous car technology is concerned, as various industry leaders and safety regulators have decided to focus intensively on how these systems operate and the level of certainty they provide.

While self-driving cars are already possible with the technology at hand, lawmakers are still concerned about the liability issues involved with these vehicles.

As the fatal accident in Florida has shown, humans are prone to be distracted while driving a vehicle with autonomous functions. Truth be told, drivers become distracted in regular cars as well, so any lack of attention while driving should not entirely be blamed on a vehicle's ability to drive itself.

Mark Rosekind, the head of the National Traffic Safety Administration, has held a speech in Detroit in front of an audience. As Ars Technica reports, administrator of the NHTSA stated that automakers cannot wait for autonomous car technology to become “perfect” when it comes to market.

Mr. Rosekind is a supporter of self-driving car tech, and he expressed hope that automated cars will save lives once they come to market. The same objective is shared by automotive industry leaders when referring to self-driving technology.

Without mentioning the fatal accident involving a Tesla that was driving on Autopilot, Rosekind noted that it is the NHTSA's goal to reduce road fatalities. Self-driving vehicles have the ability to remove human error out of the equation of driving, so introducing driverless tech in cars has the potential of reducing fatal accidents, as well as car crashes in general.

However, other safety regulators, like the Secretary of Department of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, have underlined the fact that “autonomous does not mean perfect,” so Rosekind's statement does get a different context once this is mentioned.

Our view of the two observations referred above reveals the need for lawmakers and automakers to agree on safety guidelines for driverless vehicles, so that the technology would not allow distraction and prevent accidents at the same time. All in all, this technology must be taken seriously by all involved.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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