AUTOMATED VEHICLES: Foxx calls for more rigorous testing of autonomous vehicle technology

July 20, 2016

The statement comes only a few weeks after news broke about the Tesla "Autopilot" fatality, which occurred over two months ago in Florida

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Tuesday that he wants government regulators and the auto industry to work more closely together to test self-driving technology before people entrust their vehicle's steering and brakes to a robot.

Foxx told about 1,200 people at a self-driving convention in San Francisco that a more rigorous review of robotic controls is needed to make sure the Department of Transportation and manufacturers are "in sync" about the safety of autonomous vehicles before they hit the road.

He also advised automakers to assume people will be tempted to take foolhardy risks when they activate the autonomous features in a car, making it imperative to design vehicles that minimize the chances of irresponsible behavior.

His remarks came less than three weeks after government regulators revealed Joshua Brown, a Canton, Ohio, entrepreneur, died on May 7 after his Tesla Model crashed into a truck in Florida while using a semi-autonomous feature called "Autopilot."

Foxx plans to propose federal government guidelines for self-driving vehicles later this summer. In the meantime, self-driving cars are still being tested in several states.

In remarks after his Tuesday speech, Foxx said he expects "some variation" of robotic cars to be widely available within the next five to 10 years. However, he predicted it would probably take "a couple of decades, maybe more, before full integration of the system."

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