Driverless cars have some people spooked, but most are incredibly supportive of anything that makes the roads safer. Congress wants to make sure of that with a hearing scheduled for this week.
The Hill reports that the Senate Commerce Committee will be holding a hearing on driverless cars on Wednesday to take a look at all of the issues currently surrounding the technology. The hearing will touch upon safety benefits, the risks associated with driverless cars, and what impact, if any, legalizing driverless cars will have on current policies.
Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller told the Hill that the hearing will focus on making sure driverless cares are safe:
"It’s vital that Congress understand the safety benefits, but we must make sure that these systems are reliable and secure, and don’t add to the numerous distractions already in cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also must have the capabilities to oversee the safety of new vehicle technology.”
Driverless cars won't be the only technology brought up either. The Committee will take a look at the recent trend of smartphone integration into vehicles. Some are concerned that having access to Pandora and other smartphone apps in cars will lead to more distracted driving - an already dangerous habit of many American drivers.
There's no word yet on who's going to be represented at the hearing, but it's a good bet that somebody from Google's driverless car program will be present. The company has been investing quite a bit into the technology over the past few years, and has even managed to legalize the cars in California, Nevada, Florida and Texas. It would appear that Congress wants to ascertain the safety of the vehicles before they become legal in more states.
We can only hope that somebody will bring up Google's almost spotless track record during the hearing. The cars have driven over a collective 300,000 miles, and have only been involved in two accidents. Furthermore, those two accidents were caused when human control was introduced.