With the increasing development of autonomous vehicles, and even some states issuing licenses for self-driving cars, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decided it was high time to lay out a set of rules for these advanced vehicles. According to a Detroit News report, NHTSA is embarking on a research project that could take two to three years, at the conclusion of which, the administration will write rules to govern driverless cars.
According to the report NHSTA administrator David Sctrickland says the technology could possibly save "thousands of lives." It was also reported that NHTSA has been in talks with a number of companies, including Google, regarding the implementation and development of this technology. Google has been testing its own fleet of driverless cars, logging over 300,000 miles on American roads. The tech company says autonomous vehicles could be made available to the public in the next ten years.
The technology has profound implications on the automotive industry and car culture. Strickland calls it a "game changer" and could make it possible for blind drivers or senior citizens who would otherwise have their licenses revoked, the ability to get around town. The savings from cutting down on congestion could result in as much as $100 billion in fuel savings.
But before that, NHTSA says it needs to determine the effectiveness and reliability of these driverless cars. In addition, new crash test standards may need to be developed for these autonomous vehicles. According to Strickland, "We don't want this technology to be commercially available and then there be a vacuum of no federal motor vehicle safer standards." To that end, NHTSA says there is a huge amount of work to be done before autonomous vehicles hit the roads.