US auto-safety regulators will help Google and several automakers with the development of self-driving vehicles, which they think will prevent many crashes.
Today, May 30th, the Transportation Department regulators made public a policy which is aimed at advance testing of self-driving vehicles and also at encouraging development of vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems or brakes that activate themselves when a crush is considered to be imminent.
“We see tremendous promise in these technologies whether you’re looking at the current active safety systems in some vehicles today or whether you’re looking at a truly autonomous vehicle,” David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said today in an interview. “These require clearly vigorous testing plans, and it’s happening on public roads. We want to make sure from the state standpoint that they know things they should look at.”
In 2012 almost 34,000 people died in car accidents in the US, an increase of 5.3% after 6 years of declines. Regulators believe that using vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology almost 80% of crashes could be avoided.
The NHTSA encourages more states to allow the experimental use of self-driving vehicles, a move already adopted by Nevada, Florida and California. The Transportation Department has already spent missions of dollars for the program which included the testing of 3,000 vehicles in Ann Arbor, Michigan.