Government seeks to dispel myths about automated vehicles


WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — Experts say driverless cars will be a part of future, but before they become a daily sight on roads, the government wants to educate the public, and dispel bad information about automated vehicles, or AVs.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) hopes a new information campaign gets the country ready for driverless cars.

“The AV test initiative will provide an online, public-facing platform,” said James Owens, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Eight companies and five states are taking part in the initiative.

Owens says that before today, “there’s been no one-stop, centralized nationwide source for information and transparency about the safe testing and development underway.”

The new, voluntary system lets the public see where, and how, driverless cars are being tested.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the program keeps the public informed.

“This will help improve safety and transparency for the on-road testing of automated vehicles,” she said.

 But some safety groups said the DOT relies too much on driverless car developers to report safety problems themselves.

In a statement following DOT’s announcement, Cathy Chase, the president of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, said the DOT should “make our roads safe and develop minimum performance standards” for automated vehicles.

But Chao said, simply by their design, AVs can make a huge impact on driver safety.

“AVs have the potential to save thousands of lives,” she said.

The House previously passed a bill to create safety standards for driverless cars, but so far, the Senate hasn’t moved on that legislation.

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