There is going to be a need for regulations related to the industry of vehicles and their autonomous technology. To a person, everyone involved in the summit agreed. But what kind? Until that’s decided, it’s all still about speaking to the general public about the issue of safety.
“We need regulations, even John Q. Public expects it,” said Faye Francy, executive director of the Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center. “But this is not an easy area to regulate.”
That was not news to the lawman. Capt. Ceto Ortiz, commander of the San Jose California Highway Patrol, has been a CHP officer for 24 years, said driverless technology has the potential to make his job easier by reducing or even eliminating highway deaths.
“We embrace [the technology], we need to,” said Ortiz, who mentioned the 34 million registered drivers in California. He also mentioned another number.
“The death rate is on the rise over the last eight years,” he said. “That’s not good news. New technology can save lives, so we’re really for it.”
A topic was raised regarding the level of what’s safe. In other words, what is the number of traffic deaths that is acceptable? What is the number?
Alex Epstein, director for transportation safety for the National Safety Council, had an answer that he offered anyone to try on and see if they agreed.
“Go home and look at your son and daughter and ask if their deaths would be acceptable,” said Epstein. “In truth, the number is zero.”
Education, conversation and being responsible continued to be major ingredients in the furthering of the safety issue that autonomous vehicle technology is intent on tackling. Sometimes, the terminology used in the AV discussion is not fully understood by everyone.
“We are at a very important time,” said Dr. Myra Blanco, director of the Center for Public Policy, Partnerships and Outreach for the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. “We are at a time we need to start educating. We are having a lot of ‘geek talk.’ I like ‘geek talk’ but words are so important. If we don’t have the right terminology, we are not going to be able to explain it to the consumer.”
Another topic on which everyone agreed: It’s difficult to regulate a fast-moving technology. That’s another bottom-line take-away from the Safety Summit.
Part 1: Velodyne LiDAR’s Safety Summit
Part 2: Let’s get it started
Part 3: Look, up in the sky!
Part 4: It’s a learning process
Part 5: And now, what about the DMV?
Part 6: Regulations. Responsibility
Part 7: Watch what you drink
Part 8: The driverless car rides
Part 9: That’s a wrap