Autonomous cars will soon be ready, but what about regulations?

Autonomous cars will soon be ready, but what about regulations?

Different models are starting to have more and more –self-driving” features, and Nissan says it will have a fully autonomous car by 2020. But regulatory delays and insurance questions may hold up progress, according to an analysis by Paul Eisenstein in

When the 2016 BMW 750i comes out, drivers will be able to take their hands off the wheel for up to 15 seconds. The new model will also be able to park itself in a garage after the driver has gotten out of the car but only in Europe. BMW is still working on regulatory approval in the United States.

With Cadillacês Super Cruise system, out in a year, drivers will be able to cruise well-marked freeways for long periods if regulators approve the feature.

Any such feature would need to be approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. With highway deaths increasing and autonomous driving advocates convinced that the features will save lives, federal approval may seem like a no-brainer. But NHTSA has plenty on its plate now as it focuses on safety defects and unprecedented recalls in recent models.

Insurance questions create more uncertainty. Some autonomous driving proponents want federal and state agencies to start approving regulations such as one that would create limited liability for autonomous technologies.

The insurance industry is as eager as any party to lower the highway death rate, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has praised semi-autonomous technologies, such as forward collision warning with autonomous braking.

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