Some of 2016’s most exciting technological advances have involved the use of—and planning for the use of—self driving cars. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation released their Federal Automated Vehicles Policy and accompanying Fact Sheet: Federal Automated Vehicles which are intended to encourage a “proactive safety approach that will bring lifesaving technologies to the roads safely while providing innovators the space they need to develop new solutions.”
The Policy sets forth a forward-looking proposed regulatory framework for dealing with issues relating to self-driving cars through several mechanisms, including a 15-point “Safety Assessment” for the safe design, development, testing and deployment of automated vehicles, a Model State Policy and discussions of current and “modern” (potentially new) regulatory tools. The Safety Assessment aspect of the Policy reflects significant concern about privacy and cybersecurity, and balances that concern with a keen understanding of the unique nature of this new industry. Without overly specific guidance as to how information should be treated or used, the Policy aims to allow “government, industry and the public to increase their learning and understanding as technology evolves, while protecting legitimate privacy and competitive interests.” . Examples found in the Policy of the desire for a collaborative partnership to advance both public and private interests include recommendations that:
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