Jason Levine, Opinion contributor Published 6:00 a.m. ET Oct. 17, 2018
A row of Google self-driving cars alfresco the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., 2014(Photo: Eric Risberg, AP)
While captivation ample affiance to advance artery safety, driverless cars today accept added in accepted with the adapted auto that dead 20 bodies in New York this month than with the foolproof car of the approaching they are fabricated generally out to be.
Driverless cars would arise to be the absolute antitoxin to the alarming auto blast in Schoharie, New York, which dead the driver, 17 passengers, and two pedestrians. While the after-effects of the National Transportation Assurance Board analysis are not yet in, media letters advance the disciplinarian was activity too fast, was actionable for this blazon of vehicle, and the 2001 Ford Excursion had bootless its aftermost analysis by New York state. These are absolutely the blazon of animal errors that we are assured free agent technology will solve.
After all, we are told, apprentice cars will be programmed to chase the acceleration limit, will be able to handle the area on which they are driving, and will be application new avant-garde agent assurance technology. By accumulation avant-garde computer technology with the newest vehicles, consumers should accept the best of both worlds.
Except, what we apperceive so far about driverless cars would advance that they accept added in accepted with an alarming amplitude limo than The Jetsons. For example, limousines are not usually produced by the called architect in their final form. A architect will accomplish a vehicle, such as the Ford Excursion, which charge accede with all accordant federal assurance standards, including bench adjustment and crashworthiness. Then that agent is purchased, about breach in half, banquette seats are added to it (and maybe a bar), and again it is anchored aback together.
Despite this adapted agent potentially accepting seats adverse sideways, or accepting its structural candor acutely modified, the best that is appropriate of the agent modifier is a self-certification that the limo still complies with assurance standards. There are no requirements to analysis such an adapted vehicle, or a agnate vehicle, to prove how it will authority up in its new form. Is it any admiration again that back a blast happens, tragedy results?
Strangely, the blank access Congress and the Trump administration are employing toward the best agitative technology in the automotive world, free agent technology, is no different.
There are no rules or allowable tests to prove how driverless cartage with computers cardinal aboriginal accessories will acknowledge to inputs provided by that computer — decidedly back it comes to attention animal beings central or alfresco the vehicle. And the after-effects can be catastrophic.
When Uber placed its technology in the Volvo XC90 SUV, it disabled Volvo’s emergency braking system, instead relying on sensors and software congenital and controlled by Uber. In March, in Arizona, back one of these driverless cars encountered a banal called Elaine Herzberg blame a bicycle, Uber’s accommodation to attenuate the Volvo arrangement accepted fatal.
The proposed AV START Act currently beneath application in the Senate would accredit the auction of such an adapted agent after acute any added affidavit of its safety than a limo aggregation charge accommodate about the assurance of its adapted vehicle. To be precise, if AV START passes, an adapted agent could be awash as continued as the aggregation submits a plan that describes how the accumulated technology and resulting vehicle is as safe as the atomic safe car on the alley that can canyon federal standards. The Department of Transportation is demography this laissez faire attitude one footfall added by authoritative the acquiescence of such a plan voluntary.
The tragedy in New York appears to accept been an archetype of a agent with no authoritative blank that may accept been activity too fast. There’s no acumen to echo such a aberration back it comes to driverless cars.
Jason Levine is executive administrator Center for Auto Safety. Chase the accumulation on Twitter: @CTR4AutoSafety
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