Automakers Want This Cancelled Government Program to Continue
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It’s not every day that you hear corporations asking for government intervention, but that’s exactly what’s happening right now in the auto industry.
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, an alliance of U.S. automakers and AV tech companies, recently asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to reconsider the expected cancellation of a national pilot program that supported the testing and development of self-driving cars.
The group said large-scale testing and deployment of automated vehicle (AV) technology would be a lot easier with NHTSA involvement. Without the government agency overseeing the process, they fear that it will be much more difficult to gain public trust in the new technology.
Autonomous vehicles are advancing in technology every year.
The details of NHTSA’s cancelled program
The pilot program began in 2018, when NHTSA issued proposed rule-making on the testing and deployment of AV technology already underway by the auto and tech industries. According to Automotive News, the program was meant to establish a structure so NHTSA could facilitate, monitor, and learn from AV function and safety testing.
While the agency is expected to withdraw from their involvement in July, the alliance is hoping for the pilot program to continue.
In December 2020, they announced their four-year plan for continued AV testing and deployment that included a recommendation to establish a national pilot program for testing and launching AV technology in the U.S.
How close are we to launching AV technology?
Many of the country’s largest companies are joining the automated driving revolution, from tech giants like Google and Apple to auto manufacturers like Volkswagen and Tesla.
But as they all rush to claim their piece of the AV pie, safety concerns surrounding the new technology are growing. A number of fatal accidents involving Teslas on AutoPilot have regulators and consumers calling for more oversight and rigorous testing.
The new technology also has hurdles to clear when it comes to car insurance. Federal legislators are still debating how to determine liability when AV is a factor. The answer could force auto insurers to completely change how they determine premium rates and claim payouts.
The potential effect of AV technology on car insurance
While the insurance industry focuses on solving the liability problem related to self-driving cars, the technology could upend much more than who’s at fault in an accident.
The technology has the potential to make driving a lot safer since most accidents are caused by human error. A study by KPMG says self-driving cars could reduce the number of car crashes by as much as 90%.
These changes could cause the insurance industry to push for a more standardized approach to coverage requirements across the country. And as liability transfers over to manufacturers, insurers will most likely move away from basing premium rates on driving records.
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