The state of auto tech. Udacity's self-driving nanodegree. The price tag of Cruise Automation.
Fork in the road
This week, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced they would delay the release of their national guidelines originally scheduled for this month. But NHTSA head Mark Rosekind also lent support to autonomous tech, saying that lone incidents would not influence their mission to improve road safety. The NHTSA would also remain neutral between incremental developmental processes versus revolutionary ones, he said.
By contrast, this week also saw China’s chief automotive ministry ban all autonomous testing from public highways while their agency finalizes its own regulations. This move, though temporary, is a reversal for auto tech proponents who had considered China’s ability to enforce government policy from the top down an advantage in this field.
Not surprisingly, solving the riddle of fully autonomous passenger cars will be a challenging one. But there are a number of companies applying self-driving tech to buses and shuttles, targeting predefined transit routes or geo-fenced areas.