Study: Self-driving vehicles offer benefits but create challenges

Jan. 6, 2014 at 4:30 PM
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SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Self-driving vehicles offer the promise of significant benefits to society but raise a number of policy challenges, a study by a U.S. think tank indicates.

Those challenges include the need to update insurance liability regulations and privacy concerns of who will control the data generated by this technology, the Rand Corp. study said.

Offered as a guide for state and federal policymakers, the study explored communications, regulatory challenges and liability issues raised by autonomous vehicle technology.

The study authors reviewed the current literature on the subject and conducted interviews with 30 stakeholders including automobile manufacturers, technology companies, communications providers, representatives from state regulatory agencies and others, a Rand release said Monday.

"Our research finds that the social benefits of autonomous vehicles -- including decreased crashes, increased mobility and increases in fuel economy -- will outweigh the likely disadvantages," said James Anderson, lead author of the study and a senior behavioral scientist at Rand.

Cars and light vehicles equipped with self-driving technology could reduce crashes, energy consumption and pollution, and cut costs associated with congestion, the study authors said.

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