- An explanation of the many areas of vehicle innovation and types of automation that offer significant potential for enormous reductions in highway crashes and deaths;
- A summary of the research NHTSA has planned or has begun to help ensure that all safety issues related to vehicle automation are explored and addressed; and
- Recommendations to states that have authorized operation of self-driving vehicles, for test purposes, on how best to ensure safe operation as these new concepts are being tested on the highway.
Now, the Eno Center on Transportation has released Preparing a Nation for Autonomous Vehicles, which discusses in some depth the potential benefits and costs of self-driving vehicles and their regulation. AP reporter Joan Lowry has this story on the Eno report. Here is an excerpt:
In some ways, computers make ideal drivers: They don't drink and then climb behind the wheel. They don't do drugs, get distracted, fall asleep, run red lights or tailgate. And their reaction times are quicker. They do such a good job, in fact, that a new study says self-driving cars and trucks hold the potential to transform driving by eliminating the majority of traffic deaths, significantly reducing congestion and providing tens of billions of dollars in economic benefits. But significant hurdles to widespread use of self-driving cars remain, the most important of which is likely to be cost. Added sensors, software, engineering and power and computing requirements currently tally over $100,000 per vehicle, clearly unaffordable for most people, the study said. But large-scale production “promises greater affordability over time,” it concluded. Questions also remain about public acceptance, liability in event of an accident, and the ability of automakers to prevent car computers from being hacked.