The crash in Florida that killed a driver who was using his Tesla’s Autopilot feature is raising questions about whether stronger federal regulation will make sure self-driving technology is thoroughly tested before going into cars.
“It wasn’t ready to go out on the road,” said Rosemary Shahan, president of the advocacy group
Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety about Tesla’s Autopilot. “If you have a system called Autopilot that cannot distinguish between the side of a truck and the open sky, it’s not ready.”
The crash that killed Joshua Brown, 40, of Ohio as he was driving near Williston, Fla., on May 7 comes as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is believed to be formulating guidelines around the development of self-driving cars. While the agency has encouraged the advent of self-driving cars as way of preventing accidents, the crash underscores the urgency to make sure that the systems remain safe during their development phase.
The crash, too, caught the eye of Congress. Lawmakers have kept a closer eye on automakers’ safety compliance and NHTSA following such deadly issues over recent years, including unintended acceleration in Toyotas, dangerous ignition switches in General Motors’ models and lately, explosive air bags from Japanese supplier Takata