Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are poised to make our roads safer — if they can ever get permission to be on our roads, that is.
Despite all the talk, successful tests, and tech advancements, very little has been accomplished legislatively. Without the government go-ahead, we can’t yet integrate these vehicles into our current infrastructure, and the lack of progress has resulted in very few cities preparing for the seemingly inevitable autonomous revolution.
Finally, it looks like that’s about to change. Yesterday, June 13, United States Senators Bill Nelson, Gary Peters, and John Thune announced the six principles that they plan to use to draft legislation for autonomous vehicles:
As with any transformative technology, governments and businesses have a responsibility to adequately plan for contingencies, consider potential guidelines, and develop legislation before introducing autonomous driving systems to the public. By taking these steps, they’ll be able to avoid irresponsible use based on ignorance, unforeseen legislative gray areas, or public resistance to the technology when it hits the market.
The legislation of driverless cars is particularly important because lives are at stake — we must do everything we can to integrate the technology in the safest possible way. This becomes even more pressing when we consider that driverless systems could be on state roads within the next two months.
The guidelines for AVs are also particularly important as they may set a legal precedent for the wider introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Automated systems are poised to become more and more integrated into various aspects of our lives in the coming years, and in the process, they could introduce problems unlike any we’ve previously encountered. The worst thing we could do is wait for those problems to surface before planning ways to deal with them.