We posted recently about Uber's plans to put driverless cars on the road in Pittsburgh very soon. Auto safety advocates say it's too soon and the public's safety is at risk. Today's Washington Post has this article on the topic by Elizabeth Dwoskin and Brian Fung. Here's an excerpt:
Uber’s decision to bring self-driving taxis to the streets of Pittsburgh this week is raising alarms among a swath of safety experts who say that the technology is not nearly ready for prime time. … Pennsylvania has yet to pass basic laws that permit the testing of self-driving cars or rules that would govern what would happen in a crash. Uber is also not required to pass along any data from its vehicles to regulators. … [R]esearchers note, autonomous cars have been thrown off by bridges, a particular problem in Pittsburgh, which has more bridges than any other major U.S. city. “They are essentially making the commuters the guinea pigs,” said Joan Claybrook, a consumer-protection advocate and former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Of course there are going to be crashes. You can do the exact same tests without having average citizens in your car.” But advocates of autonomous vehicles say that the technology might never have happened if companies had to wait for governments to pass rules first. With nearly 37,000 Americans dying in car crashes every year, largely because of driver errors, technologists have stressed the critical need to push forward on testing driverless cars on public roads.