The Way We Regulate Self-Driving Cars Is Broken—here’s How to Fix It
The key issue is this: the current system is built around an assumption that cars will be purchased and owned by customers. But the pioneers of the driverless world—including Waymo, Cruise, and Uber—are not planning to sell cars to the public. Instead, they’re planning to build driverless taxi services that customers will buy one ride at a time.
This has big implications for the way regulators approach their jobs. Federal car regulations focus on ensuring that a car is safe at the moment it rolls off the assembly line. But as last month’s crash makes clear, the safety of a driverless taxi service depends on a lot more than just the physical features of the cars themselves.