REGULATING A COMPLEX new technology is hard, particularly if it is evolving rapidly. With autonomous vehicles just around the corner, what can policymakers do to ensure that they arrive safely and smoothly and deliver on their promise?
The immediate goal is to make sure that AVs are safe without inhibiting innovation. In America, experimental AVs are allowed on the roads in many states as long as the companies operating them accept legal liability. Chris Urmson of Aurora says American regulators have got things right, working closely with AV firms and issuing guidelines rather than strict rules that might hamstring the industry. “It’s important that we don’t leap to regulation before we actually have something to regulate,” he says.
At the other end of the spectrum, Singapore’s government has taken the most hands-on approach to preparing for AVs.