Where autonomous driving is concerned, two things are certain: it's going to be a big part of our future, and companies like Google want that future to get here as soon as possible. Last month, we reported on Google's proposal to the government which highlighted reasons why the allowance of autonomous vehicles on our roads should happen sooner rather than later. In effect, Google believes that if a self-driving car can pass the same driving tests that humans must pass, then they should stand the same exact chance of being allowed on the road. It's hard to fault that logic.
Fast-forward to today, and we learn of a partnership that aims to accomplish the same thing, and that partnership not surprisingly includes the big G. It also includes such names as Ford, Volvo, Uber, and Lyft. Together, these five companies stand to gain a lot by getting self-driving cars on the road, but it remains uncertain whether this teaming-up will help them accomplish their goals any sooner.
An autonomous vehicle from Ford
It's clear that it's going to be tough to expedite a government decision, but this coalition has a few tricks up its sleeves. David Strickland, who's the former top official of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is joining the group to write new guidance on self-driving autos. Strickland has noted that the group's goal isn't to lobby lawmakers and regulators, but spread the policy and message far and wide.
To many, autonomous driving cannot get here quick enough. In February, we reported that while evolved safety features are making cars and driving safer than ever, distracted driving (eg: smartphone use) is negating those benefits. Across the first three quarters of 2014 and 2015, the US saw an increase of 9% in automotive deaths, a number that came straight from the NHTSA.
We'd imagine that few will argue the benefits of autonomous driving, but with so many lives on the line, it's no wonder the process of getting such autos on the roads is proving so tedious.