QOTD: Is It Time for Federal Intervention on AV Testing?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Earlier today I wrote about how Tesla seems to be pushing for fewer safety guards on its so-called "Full-Self Driving" system even as it opens the program up to more "beta testers" and even as accidents involving the system and Tesla's Autopilot pile up. What I didn't mention, probably because I suspect it's common knowledge among our readership, is that there aren't federal rules governing these sorts of beta tests on public roads.

The author of The Intercept post I linked tweeted today he was surprised about this.

It does seem surprising that the feds have set no rules or regulations here. Given that accidents continue to happen and that there is real danger involved here, is it time for the government to step in?

Sound off below.

[Image: Tesla]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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5 of 28 comments
  • FreedMike FreedMike on Jan 11, 2023

    This absolutely needs regulation - it's a clear public safety issue.

  • John S. John S. on Jan 11, 2023

    I see it differently. Class action lawsuits against defective products work well to (1) make citizens whole for damages done and (2) discourage faulty product design. Independent test bodies, such as used in medical device product development ('CE Mark') give some level of comfort to consumers, too. Related entities such as Consumer Reports play an important role in warning consumers of defective products. Government 'oversight' gave us Thalidomide and other abominations, and I clearly see lots of 'regulatory capture' by industry of their government 'regulators,' i.e., enablers.

  • 95_SC 95_SC on Jan 11, 2023

    State's Rights

  • VoGhost VoGhost on Jan 11, 2023

    I'm curious, but has anyone thought of reviewing the actual data on Tesla's autopilot technology? I know we all have opinions, but what if there were an actual study showing the value of this technology?