Obama Vows to Make Road to Self-Driving Vehicles Easier

     (CN) — As his administration set policy for self-driving vehicles on Tuesday, President Barack Obama urged regulators to balance ensuring public safety with allowing companies to produce self-driving vehicles in a timely and efficient manner.
     In an opinion piece for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Obama highlighted how excessive regulation could inhibit the pace of development within the industry and cause unnecessary concern among consumers.
     “The quickest way to slam the breaks on innovation is for the public to lose confidence in the safety of new technologies,” Obama wrote Monday.
     In the column, the president announced the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new policy overview for autonomous vehicles, which includes a 15-point safety checklist designed to show regulators and American citizens the steps that companies which produce self-driving vehicles are taking along the way.
     “Americans deserve to know they’ll be safe today even as we develop and deploy the technologies of tomorrow,” he wrote.
     The full policy on self-driving vehicles, released Tuesday, presents guidelines for manufacturers including data recording, crashworthiness and cybersecurity. Additionally, the policy lays out federal and state responsibilities and outlines existing and potentially new regulatory tools necessary to monitor the vehicles.
     While the policy is designed to ensure that self-driving vehicles are safe, it also aims to limit potential regulatory burdens that could delay the technology.
     “Regulation can go too far. Government sometimes gets it wrong when it comes to rapidly changing technologies,” Obama wrote. “That’s why this new policy is flexible and designed to evolve with new advances.”
     Self-driving vehicles are no longer science fiction, as many companies either have autonomous cars under development or ready for use. In August, Uber began offering a self-driving car service in Pittsburgh.
     Tesla, Volvo, Audi and Delphi are each working on semi-autonomous cars, and Google has been testing self-driving vehicles on public roads for years.
     “Safer, more accessible driving. Less congested, less polluted roads. That’s what harnessing technology for good can look like,” Obama wrote. “But we have to get it right. Americans deserve to know they’ll be safe today even as we develop and deploy the technologies of tomorrow.”

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