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Auto, tech giants form lobbying group to expedite the arrival of self-driving cars

By Shawn Knight
Apr 26, 2016
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  1. There’s billions of dollars to be made (and lost) in the autonomous vehicle sector. The problem? It’s still many years away, a realization that some of the world’s most influential companies want to expedite.

    Google, Ford, Lyft, Uber and Volvo on Tuesday announced the formation of the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, a lobbying group for those who stand to benefit from autonomous vehicles hitting roadways sooner rather than later.

    David Strickland, a former top official with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), will serve as the group’s counsel and spokesperson, Reuters reports.

    The announcement comes just one day ahead of the NHTSA’s second of two public forums on self-driving car guidelines. The event, which will feature comments from automakers and tech companies, takes place on Wednesday at Stanford University.

    The NHTSA aims to release its self-driving vehicle guidelines to policymakers, states and companies this summer.

    In a prepared statement, Strickland said the best path for innovation is to have one clear set of federal standards. The coalition will work with policymakers to find the right solutions that will facilitate the deployment of self-driving vehicles, he added.

    In a separate statement, Ford said fully autonomous vehicles will help people travel more safely and efficiently. Uber echoed those sentiments, noting that self-driving cars can help save millions of lives.

    A world populated with self-driving vehicles would afford a number of other benefits as well, such as providing reliable transportation for the disabled and freeing up time that is currently allocated to commuting.

    While it may be morbid to think about, services like organ donation would sharply decline if traffic accidents were eliminated. What’s more, insurance rates would also likely plummet, putting a large number of people out of work. And we’d also need fewer doctors, so that’s even more people without a job. Schools would no longer need drivers ed courses and the teachers that teach them.

    In a world of perfect driving, there would be no reason for police to patrol the roadways, thus eliminating a major source of revenue for cities and eliminating the possibility that a routine traffic stop could lead to the arrest of an individual with an outstanding warrant or someone toting around a trunk full of illegal weapons.

    All of this is in addition to the fact that cities would no longer need as many police officers, thus putting even more people out of a job. And what happens when a self-driving vehicle malfunctions and causes an accident resulting in fatalities?

    I, like millions of others, believe the future lies in self-driving vehicles but I’m not naïve enough to think it is all sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. Self-driving cars are projected as futuristic chariots, ready to take passengers to their destination at a moment’s notice but it's just not that simple. I don’t think people are considering the ramifications of replacing modern vehicles with those of the autonomous variety.

    Lead image courtesy Tony Avelar, Associated Press

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,195   +592

    I think I'll take my chances with self driving cars. At least they don't get smashed (drunk), try to change their pants going 60 down the highway, or forget to use a turn signal.

    Are you suggesting that we should not encourage self-driving cars because people might lose their job? No, let's go back to using vacuum tubes for computers because they required far more people to make than transistors. Or how about we hand wash our cloths from now on, washers and dryers are stealing all our jobs. Old doors close and new ones open. The world changes, change with it.
     
    ET3D likes this.
  3. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,180   +73

    Yes, it is terribly morbid to say that fewer people dead and injured is a problem. Hey, let's start maiming people randomly so doctors and insurance workers have more work.
     
  4. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,555   +2,361

    I clicked on this article for the economic impact analysis.
     
  5. CaptainTom

    CaptainTom TS Booster Posts: 157   +61

    I am sorry but that opinion piece at the end of the article was completely unneeded.

    Wait you are saying a switch to driverless cars may effect several industries? WHAT?!!! Thanks Captain obvious!

    BTW when we switched to personal computers a lot of book companies and typewriter manufacturers went out of business. Should we cry about that? (I especially love how it is apparently bad that cops won't be able to extort drivers with protection fees anymore)
     
  6. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,043   +273

    I agree with the other comments. Humanity progresses, things change. Industries will change, and people will find jobs elsewhere. People said similar things about robots in manufacturing. The world survived.

    My main concern with self-driving-cars is that they have to be flawless. It was not all that long ago that there were news stories about how GPS data was bad, and it caused accidents. Self-driving cars need to handle that intelligently, otherwise, there will still be accidents because of bad GPS data. I understand that these companies think that they can do better than what we now have, and they probably can, however, these cars must have ways of avoiding all accidents. The lobby may say that they are focused on safety, however, as I see it, the lobby is first about making money. If they force an immature technology down the public's throat, they will be on the receiving end of lawsuits.
     
    Evernessince likes this.
  7. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 1,953   +162

    "While it may be morbid to think about, services like organ donation would sharply decline if traffic accidents were eliminated. What’s more, insurance rates would also likely plummet, putting a large number of people out of work. And we’d also need fewer doctors, so that’s even more people without a job. Schools would no longer need drivers ed courses and the teachers that teach them."

    This is the same backwards thinking people worried about when the cottin jin came to be. Back then 70% of americans were farmers. Now were one the leaders in technology. Maybe we should all use one hand to double the job market dirrrr..... And without accidents less people would need organ donations.
     

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