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4 recommendations by feds to keep driverless cars safe

Cars are an integral part of our daily lives. We use them to get to work, take our kids to school and pick up groceries. Without some form of transportation our lives would be very different.

These vehicles are always evolving. After all, vehicles have not always had seatbelts, antilock brakes and airbags. The most recent innovations are taking us into a realm that comes straight out of popular plots for science fiction movies: driverless cars.

The technology is here. Driverless cars are a reality. But are they safe? In an effort to better ensure the answer to this question is yes, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) is requesting that car makers follow certain guidelines. Four of the recommendations recently made by the federal agency include:

  • Testing. The federal agency is providing a list of specific things that car manufacturers should do while testing these vehicles.
  • Safeguarding. The agency is also calling for manufacturers to include safeguards within the vehicle that will help to avoid an accident in the event the driverless technology fails.
  • Programming. Requirements will also be in place addressing how the vehicles will obey existing traffic laws.
  • Hacking. Driverless technology poses a risk of hacking. As a result, the DOT is calling for plans to be in place that will help prevent infiltration.

A recent article by The Wall Street Journal notes that driverless car advocates the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets applaud the regulations. Although the USDOT is taking the lead on national safety standards, it is careful to note that issues involving driver's licenses, vehicle registration, insurance issues and legal liabilities remain the fodder of state regulation. 

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