Regulating Self-Driving Cars For Safety Even Before They're Built

In an Op-Ed piece published this week, President Barack Obama lays out how his administration hopes to keep consumers safe without stifling innovation.

The state agency that regulates taxicabs and transportation businesses in Pennsylvania says it doesn't have jurisdiction over free trips in self-driving cars being offered by Uber, but it will once the company starts charging money. New rules for these vehicles could help convince the American public that autonomous cars don't pose a serious threat to anyone's wellbeing despite their current limitations.

"The quickest way to slam the brakes on innovation is for the public to lose confidence in the safety of new technologies", Obama wrote in a column for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where Uber deployed a fleet of self-driving a cars in August - albeit with an Uber engineer in each vehicle - to test its new technology on a commercial platform.

In addition to saving lives, Obama wrote that self-driving cars can also result in "less congested, less polluted roads". But he added: "We have to get it right. Americans deserve to know they'll be safe today even as we develop and deploy the technologies of tomorrow", he said. The department also said it would assert its authority to recall semi-autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles found to be unsafe. Google has been testing its self-driving vehicles on the streets of its hometown of Mountain View, California, while Tesla has already rolled out a semi-autonomous "Autopilot" feature via a software update for its vehicles.

The Tesla involved in that fatal crash in Florida.

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Although oil refinery maintenance this season may slightly lift prices, Kloza said he expects gas to stay fairly cheap. Colonial said work crews would begin excavation work Friday and repairs would continue through the weekend.

Looking to encourage the nascent autonomous vehicle industry - and ensure safety without overregulation - the federal government for the first time released a set of guidelines for self-driving cars. "So they can get on the road as quickly, and as safely, as possible", he said.

The federal government is striking the right balance between safety and regulation, said Karl Brauer, a senior editor at Kelley Blue Book.

"It's in their vested interest to go through the rigors that we're laying out here" to gain the confidence of both regulators and the public, Foxx said.

Foxx pointed out that drivers and cars have always been regulated by individual states in a "patchwork" of laws. Programmers are wrestling, for example, with the reaction a self-driving auto should have when, for instance, it is faced with the limited choice of smashing into a loaded bus on one side or a bicyclist on the other.

The guidelines were unveiled on September 18 and include a 15-point safety assessment, encourage states to adopt uniform laws governing the technology, and address some privacy concerns, according to the New York Times.

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