Like it or not, autonomous vehicles as a mainstream concept are coming, and they will probably be here to stay. We are on the cusp of witnessing the early stages of a new technology being developed, one that will more than likely be an everyday part of our lives in the very near future.
As with any new tech, there must be some sort of laws and regulations, and that’s where Tesla and Apple find themselves today. Both companies, based out of California, are developers of autonomous cars and both are in the process of submitting changes to the state’s proposed self-driving car laws.
California is one of the first states to allow autonomous car testing, which positively impacted companies like Tesla because it clarified the legalities surrounding the development and testing of autonomous cars. However, the requirement that all autonomous vehicles also be equipped with a set of manual controls (which I think is a great idea for safety purposes) caused some friction between the state and companies such as Uber, who were in the process of developing a fleet of autonomous cars.
Tesla is in the process of developing an autonomous semi-truck and feels that the state should not bar the testing of vehicles weighing 10,000 lbs or more. Obviously, the weight limit would not affect any of Tesla’s passenger cars, but it could have a significant impact on the development of the semi and also the autonomous passenger car that Elon Musk mentioned in his Master Plan.
In addition, to all the point mentioned above, there is also the question of liability rules; namely, who is at fault when there is an accident involving an autonomous car? It’s a tricky situation as I’m sure car companies would like to limit their liability as much as possible. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see once autonomous vehicles start hitting the streets in large numbers.
SOURCE | Reuters