Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Driverless cars vs Bureaucrats in Europe and USA

What is currently happening these last weeks around driverless car, show big differences between USA and Europe, on how to handle its introduction.

In the USA, various lawyers in several states made many proposals to push for driverless car adoption on their roads. But the US federal government, through the NHTSA tells everybody to stop and wait. Maybe, an additional driver license will be required to go driverless. This is schizophrenia for me: while driverless cars are supposed to require less competences, government is asking for more diplomas. Where are we going?

While during this time, Europe (namely Germany) knowing that its own bureaucrats might be even more annoying than Uncle Sam, decided to just ignore government and put driverless cars on the road without asking: Mercedes-Benz is putting the 1st driverless car this year. The catch is the car cannot be driverless more than 10 seconds, before it asks the driver to put back his hands on the steering wheel. We can expect these 10 seconds to become 20 seconds in 2014 or 2015, and then become minutes and then hours afterwards.
“How long end drivers are allowed not to pay attention to road” will be the most interesting thing to watch for the next 5 to 10 years and especially:
* environmental conditions allowing it.
* the price of the technical features needed.
* reliability.

But the major roadblock for driverless cars today in USA and soon in Europe when european bureaucrats will wake up, are the thousands of pages of laws stifling innovation and progress that will be enacted.


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