Last year, Business Insider predicted 10 million driverless cars on the road by 2020. Now that we're winding down the year, with 2018 just around the corner, how far have self-driving cars driven toward that milestone? It's time for another autonomous car roundup.
The rationale is that with fewer regulations on autonomous vehicles, innovation may move faster: putting more driverless cars on the road, decreasing human error in collisions, and bringing traffic fatalities to a new low. The question is whether we trust automakers and tech firms to police themselves for safety. For Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the answer is: not necessarily.
Take the Tesla crash from 2016, in which a car running on autopilot got into a fatal collision when, confusing a white truck with a white sky, its automatic braking system failed to kick in. To be clear, a crash like this is statistically insignificant: autonomous collisions are much less frequent than crashes stemming from human error. Yet the story raises important questions. The crash was partly the car's fault, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). It allowed the driver to go long periods of time without interacting with the car. Tesla adjusted the system to prevent similar incidents in the future, as any smart manufacturer would – otherwise, who would buy from them? But here's the rub: manufacturers have no regulatory obligation to share such lessons with competitors. They face a conflict of interest between consumer safety and competitive advantage.
"We don’t think each manufacturer of these vehicles needs to learn these lessons independently," said Robert Molloy at the NTSB Office of Highway Safety, said Terpstra.
This is why regulations exist: to require corporations to do the right thing even when it doesn't drive profits. John Simpson from Consumer Watchdog would agree, pointing out that the stakes for software testing are higher in autonomous vehicles, In fact, software glitches could actually kill you.
But Department of Transportation is holding to its stance that at this point in the game, the value of unencumbered innovation outweighs the benefits of safety regulation. It remains to be seen if the U.S. Senate will agree.
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Silvervine was our insurance software system of choice when we started the company in 2006. Silvervine enabled us to begin business within a few months of licensing the company. Today, we are one of the top 20 homeowner’s writers in Texas and SIlvervine’s solutions have been an integral part of our success.