Concerns about driverless cars pop up more often than not. Some which I read today:
NHTSA creates safety vacuum: Opposing view, Clarence Ditlow, USA Today, Driverless vehicles are a marketing marvel. But it’s not a safety miracle as the auto industry and its captive regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, claim. In its zeal to advance driverless vehicles, NHTSA has forgotten its mission is to ensure safety, not promote gee-whiz vehicle technology to increase sales. It is an inherent conflict of interest for any agency to both promote and regulate technology. . .
While automakers, suppliers and ride providers such as Uber race to develop and deploy the technology, one aspect of self-driving cars is not being reported on much, if at all: The nation’s infrastructure is simply not ready for cars that can drive themselves 100 percent safely, 100 percent of the time. . .
Tonight I just happened to find a great article written by Roger Lanctot on the topic of driverless vehicles and crash avoidance and other good things like that. He said it with much more technical expertise than I ever could. Read it here: NHTSA: Driverless, Directionless in DC
Thank you, Roger, for clarifying the issues and throwing out a challenge. Let’s hope that we as a nation can take up that challenge in a wise and timely fashion.
Here we have the opportunity to pull together the creative intelligence and technological resources of our country. Will we be able to look back, in years to come, with gratitude for being able to plan ahead in a non-competitive way to develop a workforce which creates useful products–all the while protecting health and life?
Here’s my idea–in keeping with Roger’s suggestion of a Vision Zero objective related to this technological challenge. Let’s say that a Vision Zero objective would mean that the guiding light/the plumbline would be a continual focus on safety–always asking the question at each step along the way, “How will this impact safety?”
And how would this be accomplished? By President Obama setting a National Vision Zero Goal–because who else would do it? It is an issue much broader than the Department of Transportation–and should include Labor, Commerce, Public Health, among others.
And then President Obama needs to establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force with Committees made up of resourceful people to take up challenges such as Roger Lanctot has suggested: “the development and adoption of technology that could start reducing the alarmingly high rate of crash-related injuries and fatalities in the U.S. and abroad – while also stimulating the economy and ultimately reducing the cost of vehicle ownership – or possibly eliminating vehicle ownership.”
Finally, President Obama needs to sign a Vision Zero Executive Order which will pave the way for rulemaking to actually make safety The Priority and other priorities would then fall in place subsequent to saving lives.
Can you imagine how effective and efficient such a process could be? Working together toward a common goal for the common good. Making good use of our resources and skills to meet needs.
Towards Zero Crash Deaths & Serious Injuries. A vision worth pursuing, a guiding light to keep us on track. Let’s do it, people.