Google’s self-driving car project, Waymo, is set to launch a fully autonomous taxi service in the next three months — and this time there will be no back-up driver behind the wheel.
The launch will take place in Phoenix Arizona where there are very few requirements that need to be met to operate driverless vehicles. In fact federal and state laws will allow Waymo to introduce their driverless taxi fleet onto public streets without any formal approved process, Arstechnica has confirmed.
The consensus in Washington is that any strict regulations enforced onto the autonomous vehicle industry would do “more harm than good”.
In a document released by the Trump administration in 2017, it made it quite clear that the strategy to regulate self-driving cars would be to “not” regulate them at all. It “advised” recommendations for car manufacturers and tech companies, but said it was “entirely voluntary” and had no compliance requirements.
The hands-off approach to autonomous vehicles is seen as crazy by some safety advocates.
Engineering professor, Mary Cummings, has said that there should be no driverless cars on the road, saying “it’s unconscionable that no one is stipulating that testing needs to be done before they’re put on the road”.
One of the reasons federal regulators are not pressing for stringent rules and guidelines is because they believe that “liability concerns” are enough for autonomous companies to behave properly.
The current law doesn’t require Waymo to prove that its driverless technology is safe before putting cars on the road.