Today’s regulatory structure has given Tesla license to peddle the illusion of self-driving and tout its beta software experiments on public roads as a breakthrough in automotive technology.
"A Tesla attempts to turn pretty aggressively in front of opposing traffic. The path planner sees the oncoming vehicle, plots a turn in front of it, and then attempts to execute the turn," observed Phil Koopman. (Image is sourced from the video posted on Youtube available here.)
What’s at stake?
Tesla’s autonomous-vehicle strategy is about to become a playbook for the broader automotive industry on sidestepping the National Transportation Safety Board’s safety recommendations and bending the prior administration’s toothless AV regulations to its will. But when Tesla’s Full Self-Driving beta software kills a pedestrian, regulators must do more than say, “Uh-oh”; they must get to the bottom of what went wrong. That requires a deep dive into the software — a task for which regulators today are ill-equipped. Ensuring the public safety requires rewriting the rules and arming the regulators to enforce them.
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