For three years I’ve been writing at least once a week about self-driving cars and I’ve recently noticed a shift in popular opinion. The wide-eyed optimism of seeing Google’s cute-as-a-button robot bopping unassisted around a parking lot has been replaced by some ambiguous, malicious, unknowable entity.
Hands off! Robots are coming! Yesterday, representatives from Google, GM, Delphi and Lyft testified before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation about the future of self-driving vehicles. The senators, bless their hearts, asked all the wrong questions.
In the same way that only a handful of American cities are seriously preparing for self-driving vehicles, it seems the US federal government isn’t thinking ahead either. US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx revealed this week that his department has no plans for national regulations around autonomous cars.