Google, Ford, Uber Unite On Self-Driving Cars

A number of companies are taking it upon themselves to get self-driving cars on the road, sooner rather than later.

According to Reuters, Google, Ford, Uber, Volvo and Lyft announced yesterday (April 26) that they are forming a coalition — called the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets — to work towards the establishment of federal regulations related to self-driving automobiles.

In a statement shared by Reuters, the group expressed its intent to “work with lawmakers, regulators and the public to realize the safety and societal benefits of self-driving vehicles.”

Serving as the coalition’s counsel and spokesman will be David Strickland, the former top official of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which itself is writing new guidance on self-driving cars. Strickland has also, according to Reuters, advised Google on matters related to self-driving cars.

In an interview yesterday, Strickland stated: “What people are looking for is clear rules of the road of what needs to be done for [fully autonomous] vehicles to be on the road. Nobody wants to take a shortcut on this.”

As the Reuters story additionally notes, fully autonomous vehicles without human controls are currently not legal. NHTSA, meanwhile, has found that about 94 percent of all traffic accidents are caused by human error.

Today (April 27), at Stanford University, NHTSA — which has previously stated that the artificial intelligence system controlling a self-driving Google car could be considered the driver under federal law — is holding the second of two public forums on its self-driving car guidelines.

Reuters adds that the five companies making up the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets cite that one of their top priorities at this early stage is to “work with civic organizations, municipalities and businesses to bring the vision of self-driving vehicles to America’s roads and highways.”


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