Many governments have proven supportive of autonomous vehicle (AV) development for the safety and economic benefits they promise. However, this new technology requires some serious rewriting of regulatory requirements, which were historically developed for vehicles with humans at the wheel. For instance, crashworthiness standards today assume there is a human driver in the vehicle. What happens to those standards when the vehicle is designed for autonomy, with no steering wheel or brake pedal? References to ‘the driver’s seat’ no longer hold up when the driver is a computer. Fresh rules are needed.
The novel coronavirus could spur calls for driverless technology and prompt faster technological developments, but the rulemaking efforts will invariably struggle to keep up….