Five large companies are joining forces in an effort to making self-driving cars a reality.
The alliance, known as the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, includes automakers Ford and Volvo, Google, and rideshare companies Uber and Lyft.
According to Reuters, the group said it plans to “work with lawmakers, regulators and the public to realize the safety and societal benefits of self-driving vehicles.’’
David Strickland will be the coalition’s official spokesperson and counsel. Strickland is the former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal government’s top auto safety agency, and has advised Google on its own autonomous vehicle efforts.
Strickland explained to Reuters that the group intends to make safety a priority when addressing self-driving cars.
“What people are looking for is clear rules of the road of what needs to be done for (fully autonomous) vehicles to be on the road,’’ Strickland said in an interview Tuesday…. “Nobody wants to take a shortcut on this.’’
The group said it plans to work first with “civic organizations, municipalities and businesses’’ to get self-driving cars on the road.
The federal government has made several pushes on self-driving cars this year. In January, the Obama administration pledged to spend $4 billion over the next 10 years to study and develop autonomous vehicle technology. In addition, NHTSA declared a computer could be considered a driver under federal law.
Once self-driving cars become a reality, they promise to drastically change traditional infrastructure. One Boston-based architect explained to Boston.com how the self-driving car could eliminate the parking garage and free up space for more practical uses. Meanwhile, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology predicted autonomous vehicles could eliminate the need for traffic lights by communicating with each other.
Read the full Reuters story here.