WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Transportation announced guidelines for the manufacture and use of self-driving cars.
A "Federal Automated Vehicles Policy Overview," released Monday, indicates federal regulators see self-driving cars as a safe improvement over traditional cars. While not a formal list of regulations, the statement offers a "proactive safety approach" that instructs car manufacturers and technology companies while seeming to indicate the new technology will not be over-regulated, and in essence shows government approval of self-driving cars, the New York Times said Monday.
"Regulation can go too far. Government sometimes gets it wrong when it comes to rapidly changing technologies. That's why this new policy is flexible and designed to evolve with new advances. There are always those who argue that government should stay out of free enterprise entirely, but I think most Americans would agree we still need rules to keep our air and water clean, and our food and medicine safe. That's the general principle here. What's more, the quickest way to slam the brakes on innovation is for the public to lose confidence in the safety of new technologies," President Barack Obama wrote Monday in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial praising the DOT guidelines.
Pittsburgh will host a "White House Frontiers Conference" in October, which is expected to highlight unified government and private-sector involvement in bringing technological breakthroughs to market.
The DOT overview includes a 15-point "vehicle performance guidance" for safety aspects of the vehicles, calls for states to form policies for the design and development of autonomous vehicles and clarifies how existing regulations can be applied to future innovations.
Automakers and technology companies are investing heavily in self-driving cars, which hold the promise of fewer crashes and auto-related deaths. Ford, Volvo, Google, BMW and Tesla are among companies involved.