Laws and Regulations
Autonomous car technology is quickly outpacing the laws and regulations meant to address it. In fact, many car and technology companies cite the lack of a cohesive set of laws as one of the greatest roadblocks to getting self-driving technology to market. Car makers argue that allowing each state to adopt its own rules regarding the use of autonomous cars will create an unworkable patchwork of regulation. With different standards in different states, car companies will find it difficult to produce vehicles with the latest technology that conform to all the varying laws and regulations.
Recently, a group of companies with an interest in self-driving regulation formed a lobbying coalition. This group includes Google, Ford, Uber, Volvo, and Lyft, and its announced purpose is “to advocate for safety regulations for self-driving cars and to bring them to American roads.” One of this coalition’s goals is to advocate for a single set of federal standards addressing autonomous cars. Though it seems practical for these companies, who are all working towards making driverless cars a reality, to band together to address the issue of variation between laws, some analysts worry that this coalition could be detrimental to consumers. Some worry that this powerful group will push to legally protect manufacturers and technology designers at the cost of drivers, creating further issues in what is already a murky world of liability. To read more about this coalition, you can visit http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2016/04/26/406447.htm and https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/26/uber-google-lyft-ford-volvo-self-driving-car-lobby.
Interestingly, China, who is another potential global leader in self-driving car technology, announced in 2016 that it will set up a national standard for autonomous car technology. It will be interesting to see how China develops its laws and whether it seeks input from industry leaders. For more on this announcement, you can visit this site. Also of note is that China has announced that self-driving cars are banned from being tested on public highways until the new regulations are completed.
The UK has also been working to ready their laws for the introduction of self-driving cars. For information about their efforts, you can read this article.
In 2016, Germany's Transport Minister proposed regulations that would require autonomous cars in Germany to have a black box to record data, similar to those used on planes. The proposed regulations would also require a driver to remain seated behind a steering wheel, even if the driver did not need to pay attention to the road.
France also took action on autonomous cars in 2016, implementing a test period during which these cars will be allowed on France's roads. It is unclear how many cars will be involved or how long the testing period will run.
To read more about state and federal laws in the United States addressing self-driving technology, you can visit the following pages: