Six Principles For Regulating Autonomous Vehicles

With no 33 entities having received licenses to test self-driving vehicles on public roads in California, more than 200 autonomous test cars roam the streets, and also other states are keeping up as well and Nevada, Arizona, Washington, New York, Michigan, or Texas also having cars being tested there, legislators have to hurry to adapt policies and laws for the coming technological changes, to encourage innovation and not put roadblocks in the way of potentially hugely lucrative new industries.

Three senators, Bill Nelson, Gary Peters, and John Thune suggested six principles for policies that regulate autonomous vehicles.

  • Prioritize Safety: This one should be the top priority of any new vehicle.
  • Promote Continued Innovation and Reduce Existing Roadblocks: Clearly, AVs are uncharted territory, so we’ll need to develop a new class of rules for this new class of vehicle, but we can’t let that development process delay innovation.
  • Remain Tech Neutral: Legislation shouldn’t include policies that favor one technology over another, for example, supporting the implementation of autonomous systems designed by veteran car makers over those of startups.
  • Reinforce Separate Federal and State Roles: New legislation must make clear which aspects of regulation should be covered by each level of government and ensure that neither steps on the other’s legislative toes.
  • Strengthen Cybersecurity: AV manufacturers must be required to guard against the vulnerabilities engrained in the fundamentally electronic technology.
  • Educate the Public to Encourage Responsible Adoption of Self-Driving Vehicles: It’s the government’s responsibility to work with the private sector to ensure that the public accurately understands the capabilities of self-driving vehicles.

This article has also been published in German.

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