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Sep 21, 2016

DRIVERLESS CARS & NEW TRAFFIC LAWS * USA

* DC - Obama Administration rolls out recommendations for driverless cars

--- Transportation Department trying to head off conflicting local rules and spurring adoption of technologies that could reduce traffic deaths... The Obama administration on Tuesday will roll out guidelines that urge car makers and other developers submit to a 15-point ‘safety assessment’ outlining how driverless cars are tested, safeguards in the event of a system failure and how vehicles are programmed to comply with traffic laws. The guidelines also expect firms to detail plans to prevent vehicle hacking... U.S. officials are hoping to spur companies to share data on crashes, detail their latest systems to regulators and take steps to ensure technologies are traffic-ready. Current regulations set out specific safety standards for seat belts, brakes and other traditional systems envisioning human drivers. The latest autonomous-vehicle guidelines largely lack specific benchmarks and delineate areas for companies to share and submit information... While the path toward regulation is still hazy, the new guidelines are an endorsement by regulators of a safer future with cars driven by robots and not people. The recommendations give auto makers and technology companies a firmer sense of regulators’ expectations, indicating they should aim to comply with uniform safety guidelines rather than a patchwork of state regulations... Regulators will investigate and urge recalls when systems pose unreasonable risks to safety, officials said... The development of driverless cars has sparked a technological arms race among traditional car manufacturers, technology titans and Silicon Valley startups. But hurdles with infrastructure, regulations, and clarity on legal liability could slow down adoption... U.S. officials are attempting to balance encouraging adoption of promising technologies that researchers contend will cut traffic fatalities while ensuring they’re safe. Traffic deaths topped 35,000 in 2015, according to government figures, largely because of human error... 
(Photo by STEPHANIE STRASBURG/The WSJ - A self-driving Uber hybrid Ford Fusion drives through Pittsburgh on Sept. 12) -- Washington, DC, USA - The WSJ, by MIKE SPECTOR - Sept. 19, 2016

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