Prototype Of A Future Autonomous Car, Image Credit: <a href=Rinspeed" draggable="false">

Prototype Of A Future Autonomous Car, Image Credit: Rinspeed

President Barack Obama has officially given the go ahead on autonomous cars. However, he stresses the importance of safety and government involvement.

President Of The United States, Barack Obama

President Of The United States, Barack Obama

In an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Obama explains how far technology has come since he has been in office, and how autonomous cars can change our lives. He goes on to give much credit to the innovations at hand, and assures that the government will assist in keeping us safe, while not getting too involved. Obama explains:

In the seven-and-a-half years of my presidency, self-driving cars have gone from sci-fi fantasy to an emerging reality with the potential to transform the way we live ... That’s why my administration is rolling out new rules of the road for automated vehicles – guidance that the manufacturers developing self-driving cars should follow to keep us safe. And we’re asking them to sign a 15-point safety checklist showing not just the government, but every interested American, how they’re doing it ... Regulation can go too far. Government sometimes gets it wrong when it comes to rapidly changing technologies. That’s why this new policy is flexible and designed to evolve with new advances.

Obama reminds us that 32,500 people died in auto crashes just last year. Almost all were a result of human error. He also explains that the elderly and disabled could benefit greatly from autonomous vehicles. Obama writes:

“The progress we’ve seen in automated vehicles over the past several years shows what our country is capable of when our engineers and entrepreneurs, our scientists and our students – backed by federal and private investment – pour their best work and brightest ideas toward a big, bold goal."

The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) will monitor the safety of the new technology. The White House explained in a release:

In particular, it emphasizes that semi-automated driving systems – ones in which the human continues to monitor the driving environment and perform some of the driving task – that fail to adequately account for the possibility that a distracted or inattentive driver-occupant might fail to retake control of the vehicle in a safety-critical situation may be defined as an unreasonable risk to safety and subject to recall.

The NHTSA has adopted a new Federal Automated Vehicles Policy. More information, along with the full policy is available here.

On October 13, the White House Frontiers Conference will be held in Pittsburgh. It will be the first-ever conference of its kind. Obama explains that it is important specifically because we are not talking about "the latest gadget or app", but instead about bettering people's lives. The conference will explore and discuss the newest innovations in technology.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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