Road crashes claim nearly 40,000 lives annually in the United States. The result is considerable financial and emotional suffering to society. Highly automated vehicles (HAVs) — vehicles that drive themselves some or all of the time – should help. By shifting responsibility for driving from humans to machines, this technology minimizes opportunities for behavioral errors blamed in most road crashes.
Senate Democrats are pushing back against attempts to pass a compromise bill in the lame-duck session that could speed the introduction of driverless cars onto U.S. roadways, saying it lacks safeguards that would protect drivers.
“Many provisions still do not go far enough to protect American consumers,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), said of the American Vision for Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies Act, or AV START.
“We can do better,” said Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.).
The fight over the bill pits some automakers, which have argued that less regulation will speed the advent of autonomous vehicles, against safety advocates and states that say Washington should exert a firm hand in regulating the budding industry.
The automakers’ argument: The sooner fully autonomous vehicles reach the road, the sooner the 40,000 annual traffic deaths on U.S. roads will decline. But some states and consumer advocates demur, saying that if the federal government does not step in to regulate, states will need to — potentially leading to a patchwork of rules across the country.
Rush hour in Singapore, a crowded island city of nearly 6 million people, is much like rush hour in almost every major city in the world: a living hell of clogged highways and stressed-out drivers. The dilemma, if left alone, will only get worse if, as is expected, Singapore adds a million more residents in the next decade. But city planners have no intention of leaving it alone. They have in mind a solution that is radical and all-encompassing: to replace car ownership with ride-sharing.
Columbus, Ohio, winner of the Department of Transportation’s Smart Cities Challenge in 2016, is using part of the $50 million it received to pilot a self-driving shuttle program. The driverless vehicles took to thelate last week.
The vehicles are operated by May Mobility, a Michigan-based startup. No passengers are currently allowed on the shuttles, as the route is still being mapped and tested; however, riders will be invited to ride starting in December, according to program materials.
“We’re proud to have the first self-driving shuttle in Ohio being tested on the streets of Columbus,” Mayor Andrew Ginther said in a statement. “This pilot will shape future uses of this emerging technology in Columbus and the nation. Residents win when we add more mobility options to our transportation ecosystem — making it easier to get to work, school or local attractions.”
Waymo is ready to start charging for its self-driving trips, but first, it needs to master the dreaded art of fleet management
In a nondescript depot in suburban Arizona, the future of transportation is getting a tune-up. This is where Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet, houses its growing fleet of self-driving cars: hundreds of Chrysler Pacifica minivans fitted with highly advanced hardware and software that enables them to safely ride on public roads without a human driver behind the wheel.
For over a year, Waymo has been offering trips to the 400-plus members of its Early Rider program who use Waymo’s ride-hailing app to summon the minivans for free trips to school, the mall, the gym, or elsewhere within its suburban Phoenix service area. Soon, Waymo will make that service available to the general public and it will start charging money for it, too. At the outset, the company plans on offering fully autonomous rides with a Waymo employee in the car only as a chaperone. And when that happens, it will make history as the first fully driverless taxi service in the world.