Google and society at large may be keen on autonomous vehicles, but that doesn’t mean that lawmakers at the national level are ready to make a leap into something that once seemed like science fiction.
Although California and other states have actually already provided a legislative framework for the adoption of such vehicles, there was some skepticism by members of the House during a Transportation, Highways, and Transit Subcommittee meeting held yesterday. One New Jersey-based representative pointed out that he couldn’t imagine a car without a driver being able to navigate busy roads in a place like New York City.
Automakers and the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were all on hand to try to assuage doubts about the promising technology. A representative of General Motors pointed out that the widespread of adoption of driverless cars could trigger a job increase. The NHTSA’s administrator praised the research efforts of his own organization. These are aimed at ensuring safety and viability as the vehicle interacts with the driver.
Other lawmakers expressed hope and admiration for the driverless technology, with one representative pointing out that fatigued or drunk driving dangers could be minimized when those persons were transported by an autonomous car. Another legislator lauded the convenience that a self-driving vehicle would provide to users.