Regulators Catching Up With Driverless Cars

Sep 21, 2016 | 8:54 am

Published by | Chandan Singh

Technology is changing so quickly that it is regularly outstripping regulations, often making federal regulators to play catch-up.

Consider drones, the flying machines that companies including Amazon want to use to make transport. As consumer drones progressively became available, many city and county and state lawmakers exceeded rules about the machines at a rapid speed, concerned about the personal privacy and safety risks of the gadgets. Yet it was not until this past year that the Federal Modern Aviation Administration weighed in more definitively, setting up potential clashes between a miscuglio of local drone rules and federal rules.

In Monday, federal regulators again played catch-up with another fast-evolving technology: driverless and semiautonomous cars, writes Cecilia Kang. The Department of Transportation gave its most powerful endorsement to technology that may lead to safer highways, issuing detailed guidelines initially for safety expectations and the role of condition regulations for driverless vehicles, among other specifics.

The rules are influential, but many of those driverless and semiautonomous cars have already reached the mainstream. Tens of thousands of men and women already own Tesla electric vehicles which may have a self-driving feature called Autopilot. Google is testing driverless cars in its hometown, Mountain Look at, Calif. And last week, Uber started out trials of its driverless vehicles in Pittsburgh.