Ford, Volvo, Google, Uber and Lyft have a message for U.S. regulators and it’s to hurry up already when it comes to regulating self-driving cars.
The automakers, search engine giant and ride-sharing startups are joining forces to push for autonomous vehicles.
They’ve just launched the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, a lobbying group designed to advocate for autonomous driving. The goal is to “work with lawmakers, regulators, and the public to realize the safety and societal benefits of self-driving vehicles.”
The group’s enlisted David Strickland, a former top NHTSA official, to lead the charge. He’ll basically be lobbying his former employer which is currently coming up with a set of rules for self-driving cars. Those guidelines are due in July.
“The best path for this innovation is to have one clear set of federal standards and the coalition will work with policymakers to find the right solutions that will facilitate the deployment of self-driving vehicles,” Strickland said in the statement.
As current U.S. law stands, fully self-driving cars without human controls aren’t illegal. Each state is pretty much on its on for now when it comes to drafting self-driving laws. For instance, California wants to ban autonomous cars that do not have steering wheels, pedals and a licensed driver ready to take over in an emergency. As you might imagine, Google, which is at the forefront of the self-driving movement, opposes that idea.
NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind wants policymakers to avoid “patchwork” of state regulations on self-driving cars, but he hasn’t taken a position on California’s proposal.
Technology is moving faster than the regulatory process at this point. If regulators don’t speed up their end of things, it will hold up automakers in their efforts to get autonomous cars on the road by 2020.
It’s not that the NHTSA hasn’t been addressing the issue. Back in February, it said the artificial intelligence system piloting a self-driving Google car could be considered the driver under federal law. It was a major step toward winning approval for autonomous vehicles.
The NHTSA is holding a public forum on the issue at Stanford University on Wednesday, April 27.
Photo Credit: Ford