Donald Hunt: Fear of overregulation of autonomous vehicles could suppress innovation

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University of Colorado senior fellow, Don Hunt, is concerned that too much legislation will suppress innovation regarding autonomous vehicle regulations. He will be speaking at the Autonomous Vehicle Safety Regulation World Congress in October.

When should federal regulations for autonomous vehicles be introduced? 

Federal regulations should be started as soon as possible–it’s a multi-year effort. Some level of certainty will be needed to keep state/local government from regulating inconsistently into the void. The regulations should be based on industry self-compliance, not government certification. The regulations should not be tech-prescriptive, but rather process and outcome based.

Several companies are pursuing a design of an autonomous vehicle without a steering wheel, should testing of such vehicles on public highways be allowed in all states now?

There should be on-street driverless testing of vehicles with human controls before vehicles without controls.

What is the main obstacle impeding the creation of autonomous vehicle legislation?

The main obstacle appears to be the fear of over-regulating and suppressing innovation. That’s a rational fear.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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