SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Jan. 7, 2015) — Consumers and regulators should not be fooled by the autonomous vehicle hype coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, the group Consumer Watchdog warned.
“Robot car advocates are putting a glitzy spin on their ‘autonomous' technologies,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project director. “The fact is that while some emerging technologies may promote safety, self-driving robot cars are not remotely ready for deployment on public highways without a steering wheel and pedals so a human driver can intervene when necessary.”
Regulators appear to be emphasizing safety as they develop regulations and policies covering autonomous vehicles, according to Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group. It urged them to “continue a deliberate approach that emphasizes safety and not yield to corporate pressure.”
California currently has regulations covering testing robot cars on the state's highways, requiring a driver behind a steering wheel capable of taking control. Last month the state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issued draft regulations for the general use of robot cars on California's roads that will also require a driver behind the wheel capable of taking control.