An expert in transportation studies says it was inevitable that
the federal government would launch a new research effort regarding
automated cars, but he won't go so far as to say that it's
This month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) said the federal government was
planning to launch a new research effort to determine the safety
and reliability of technologies that enable cars to drive
themselves. Google is developing a fleet of such vehicles,
and some automakers are thought to be moving in that direction.
Marc Scribner, fellow in land-use and transportation studies at
Enterprise Institute, tells OneNewsNow that it is no surprise
NHTSA got involved.
"I wouldn't say it's warranted, but it's inevitable that NHTSA
is going to get involved," he says. "They're the private automobile
safety regulator in the U.S. The state regulations don't exist and
the way that the state by state legislation is going, so many of
them are going to be deferring to the federal government that NHTSA
is going to have to do something."
One piece of legislation that concerns Scribner is not actually
from federal or state lawmakers, but city lawmakers. A bill in
Washington, DC, would require that all autonomous vehicles use
"We have a technology that isn't even available to consumers
yet, and we already have politicians telling automakers how they
should design their cars," Scribner remarks. "Right now,
alternative fuel vehicles are only about 2.5 percent of cars
Mandating that autonomous vehicles use alternative fuels is,
according to Scribner, limiting their potential market. He
recommends that people in positions of authority wait for
autonomous vehicle technology to develop and hear what the auto and
insurance industries have to say before letting this play out
"You're not going to have this marketed to consumers if the
manufacturers can't guarantee that it's safe and if it fails to
function," he points out.