What regulation is appropriate for robot drivers?

ArsTechnica has a long piece out today highlighting the scant regulations that exist for driverless vehicles:

If a company wants to sell a new airplane or medical device, it must undergo an extensive process to prove to federal regulators that it’s safe. Currently, there’s no comparable requirement for self-driving cars. Federal and state laws allow Waymo to introduce fully self-driving cars onto public streets in Arizona without any formal approval process. That’s not an oversight. It represents a bipartisan consensus in Washington that strict regulation of self-driving cars would do more harm than good.

On the surface, it sounds reasonable to put safety regulations on a new technology. On the other hand, driving is not new. That which is new is the driver. Google is now behind the wheel. Legally, the case can be made that Google be licensed and insured just as other drivers are, and in the case of accident, be held liable for its actions. Beyond that, I’m dubious that specific regulations make sense at this early stage of driverless development.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *