The five companies announced the formation of a coalition to push for federal action in order to speed things up for autonomous cars.
The Self-Driving Coalition For Safer Streets will “work with lawmakers, regulators and the public to realize the safety and societal benefits of self-driving vehicles,” as said in their statement.
Reuters reports that David Strickland, former chief of NHTSA, will act as the group’s counsel and spokesman. “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, emphasizing that the companies involved want to deploy them safely. “Nobody wants to take a shortcut on this.”
Strickland, who has been advising Google on autonomous cars, also said that the new coalition is “a full policy and messaging campaign and movement” and not another organized lobbying formation towards lawmakers and regulators.
Ford said in a statement that the group will “work together to advocate for policy solutions that will support the deployment of fully autonomous vehicles.”
NHTSA plans to have its self-driving guidelines ready by July, with California already proposing the ban of autonomous cars that don’t have a steering wheel, pedals and a licensed driver to take over in case of an emergency. The government agency, however, said in a statement back in February that they “will interpret ‘driver’ in the context of Google’s described motor vehicle design as referring to the (self-driving system), and not to any of the vehicle occupants”.
Volvo and Ford are known for actively developing their own autonomous technology for some time now, while Uber and Lyft want self-driving cars ready as soon as possible for their fleets. The latter has already been working closely with GM on the matter.