How will states work with feds to regulate autonomous cars?

How will states work with feds to regulate autonomous cars?

Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), Co-Chair of the Auto Caucus in Congress, has long recognized the importance of autonomous vehicles. But he realizes the technology is far from perfect.

Directing the second panel on the first day of

MobilityTalks International, Peters tapped state and local commentators on the topic of autonomous cars, Jean Shiomoto, who heads up the California DMV and Brian Kenner, deputy mayor for planning and economic development in DC.

–There will be some accidents along the way,” Peters said. –Autonomous vehicles wonêt start off fail-safe.”

Writing regulations will be a balancing act. They are needed, but they shouldnêt be so tightly drawn as to stifle innovation, he added.

Current safety regulations all assume a human driver, so regulatory agencies will have to rewrite the rules, said Peters. But doing so can take five to 10 years, he speculated. So Congress is considering legislation to waive some of the requirements and provide flexibility but only until the rules are in place.

–From the consumer standpoint, the idea of a self-driving car is pretty daunting,” said Peters. –If thereês an accident, there will be tremendous blowback on the concept. Naturally the auto companies will do their best to get it right the first time,” he said.

California DMV administrator, Jean Shiomoto, spoke of her stateês effort, funded by grants, to create a model policy on autonomous vehicles for state governments. And DC deputy mayor Kenner said the city receives many offers from automakers to use DC as a location to test autonomous vehicles. Because the city has no state or county requirements, it can often move faster than states, Kenner added.

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