Uniform Law For Driverless Cars: Manufacturers Urge Promulgation, Lawmakers Opts For More Scrutiny

March 17
8:17 AM 2016

Google, Lyft, Delphi, General Motors- all the pioneers in driverless cars have urged Congress to push for uniform national rules on autonomous vehicles. A patchwork of state laws, governing the operation of self driving cars, is threatening to stall their development. US senators have reportedly initiated consideration of a national standard for robotic vehicles.

Executives of the three pioneering companies have urged lawmakers to impose rules on issues such as dashboard controls and lane markings. The rules will facilitate driverless cars moving easily across the state borders. The executive calls have been made through the testimony submitted ahead of a Capitol Hill hearing on Tuesday, according to a report published in the Financial Times.

53 pieces of legislation have reportedly been introduced in 23 states across the US affecting driverless cars during the past two years. In December, California has released draft rules specifically prohibiting fully autonomous vehicles. Chris Urmson, Google's director of self-driving cars predicts, operating self driving cars across state boundaries will face limbo in absence of unified approach.

However, Senator Gray Peters, a Michigan Democrat considers promulgation of uniform rules across the country as absolutely critical. Patchwork of the state regulations will slow down the development process while adding confusion and advancement of these technologies, reports Bloomberg while covering an interview with the Democrat senator.

Meanwhile, John Thune, senator from South Dakota and Republican chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, considers the patchwork of state and local laws as the probable greatest obstacle to driverless vehicles. He urges to remain cautious not to thwart innovation for lack of imagination, according to a report published in the Daily News.

Ahead of the hearing, Senator Thune has taken a ride in a fully autonomous Continental Chrysler and praised the technology's potential in preventing traffic accidents. His trip highlights the mishmash of strictly regulated Washington DC and permissive roads of Virginia before switching into driverless mode. Regulations are necessary, but regulatory restraint and consistency are equally important for reaching the industry to its full potential, observes the senate committee chairman.

Google has advanced self driving technology through developing test cars without a steering wheel or a brake pedal. The new designs conflict with existing motor-vehicle regulations, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In the testimony, Mary Cummings of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina has cautioned the lawmakers for more research, testing and leadership from the federal government before allowing robot drivers.

Local law of several US states including Washington DC and California doesn't allow driverless cars. Lawmakers of the Senate Commerce Committee have been witnessed to act slower while promulgating a uniform rule. The lawmakers remain cautious not to thwart innovation just for lack of imagination. However, during a hearing session of the committee, representatives from the pioneers in the driverless car segment have argued for enacting a uniform law.

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