The United States Department of Transportation appears to be attempting to get ahead of the oncoming age of self-driving vehicles with the release of their own comprehensive policy. This is the first major document produced by the USA Department of Transportation, one that also indicates that they’re more than just hopeful that self-driving cars will be here soon, they’re encouraging their arrival.
The document goes by the name “Federal Automated Vehicles Policy”, and it’s available for public perusal at Transportation dot GOV. This document can also be seen in the embedded block below this paragraph. Users can choose to download the document here or through the US Department of Transportation website linked above.
As the Department of Transportation accepts the inevitable future, so too do many of the top minds in automotive, and the peanut gallery, too! Back in March of last year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk spoke at GTC 2015 about autonomous cars, saying “we’ll take autonomous cars for granted in a very short period of time.”
On safety in these vehicles, Musk said, “First, you can keep uploading new software, so the car you have will steadily improve with new capabilities. The car will get smarter and smarter with the current hardware suite. Even with just what we have, we’ll make huge progress in autonomy.”
Chris Davies’s column “I still trust autonomous cars more than I trust you” explains how humans get distracted while autonomous cars do not.
“Even a great driver can be momentarily distracted tuning the radio, or unscrewing the cap on a bottle of water, or just by the buzzing smartphone in their pocket or Apple Watch on their wrist,” said Davies. “That’s a human failing. We drive in our little bubbles of awareness, hardly planning for what’s out of sight around the corner.”
The obvious next step after autonomous cars are made entirely reliable is to outlaw human drivers. As Musk said, “In the distant future they may outlaw driven cars because they’re too dangerous. You can’t have a person driving a two-ton death machine.”