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Talks Begin for Safety Regulations on Driverless Vehicles

Talks Begin for Safety Regulations on Driverless Vehicles

It may seem a little early, but safety advocates have already taken a vested interest in the idea of commercial vehicles piloted by computers rather than humans.

The Automated Vehicles Symposium brought big news about the trucking trend of autonomous vehicles. The news was that this trend could become a common site within the next several years. Experts are saying driverless trucks could make it to the highways in as little as three or four years.

Some autonomous vehicles have already been taken on test drives, though some had drivers and engineers inside during the ride. While the results have been mixed, automation seems to be gaining steam and refining its practices on its way to becoming part of the freight transportation industry.

Consumer Watchdog spoke at the symposium, claiming that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should adopt enforceable federal standards to ensure autonomous trucks don’t jeopardize the safety of drivers.

One safety advocate for the group urged regulators to ensure public highways do not become private testing facilities for trucking companies who are in a rush to get driverless vehicles on the roads.

While there is a timeframe for carriers to consider when adopting autonomous vehicles, many are skeptical about making the switch – at least in a rush. Carriers are naturally understanding of the fact that safety regulations will develop for this new type of vehicle.

One of the biggest changes could be updates to infrastructure which will create hybrid-highways designed for both human drivers and autonomous vehicles. Some of this infrastructure may have separate areas for each.

Two of the biggest steps that can be taken to make sure safety regulations can be enacted affordably and efficiently involve keeping things decentralized. Ensuring states have the right to regulate activities within their own jurisdiction means the new infrastructure upgrades won’t handicap them economically.

The other step regulators can pursue is to craft insurance requirements so that carriers using driverless trucks are held responsible in the event of an accident. Ensuring that safety regulations can be implemented affordably as needed eases some of the tensions associated with autonomous vehicles, and shows just how close they are to becoming a regular sight on America’s roads.  

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