Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ongoing debate over safety of Uber’s driverless car beta test in Pittsburgh.

The Washington Post (9/13, Fung, 10.14M) reports Pittsburgh locals’ reactions to Uber’s driverless cars “run the gamut” – “from hopeful that the new technology will contribute” to the city’s rebirth to “a reluctance to trust” the robotic cars. Residents have also expressed concerns “about the cars’ performance on Pittsburgh’s complicated road network” and the possibility that driverless ride-hailing services could negatively impact those who work as Uber or taxi drivers within the city.

        The Christian Science Monitor (9/13, Beck, 382K) reports safety and industry experts have also expressed their concerns over Uber’s beta testing in Pittsburgh, arguing that the company’s innovation “is miles ahead of transportation regulations.” Joan Claybrook, a consumer-protection advocate and former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said, “They are essentially making the commuters the guinea pigs,” and argued that Uber “can do the exact same tests without having average citizens in your car.” However, Bryant Walker Smith, the chair of the Planning Task Force for the On-Road Automated Vehicle Standards Committee of the Society of Automotive and Aerospace Engineers, has counter-argued that “all sorts of automotive technologies are introduced before there are regulations to handle them.” NHTSA has said that it plans to release guidelines for autonomous vehicles by the end of the summer. 

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