Autonomous vehicles will be the subject of a panel at the US House of Representatives tomorrow, in what is a small step towards regulating the emerging industry.
According to Reuters, an Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hear from a broad range of witnesses, including:
…John Bozzella, who heads an auto trade association representing General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen and others; Gary Shapiro, who heads the Consumer Technology Association, and Jeff Tumlin, director of transportation at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Significant self-driving car testing is occurring in San Francisco and the surrounding area.
At issue, obviously, is the safety of self-driving vehicles on the road. Where will they be allowed to travel? How fast? What is the liability surrounding accidents involving self-driving cars? These questions loom over the nascent autonomous vehicle industry.
The future of self-driving vehicles also impacts the the food delivery space. Companies such as Udelv, Gatik, and AutoX are all working on their own self-driving delivery solutions using full-sized cars and vans. They’ll need a broad regulatory framework before they are able to scale and gain any widespread adoption.
Nuro, another entrant in the self-driving delivery space, uses smaller, low speed vehicles. Just last week, the company got an exemption from the federal government, allowing its passenger-less, pod-like delivery vehicles on public roads.
Autonomous vehicles could usher in a new era of food delivery for both restaurants and grocery retailers. Self-driving cars could operate around the clock (and never steal your food). But the industry a long way to go, and there’s a lot we still need to figure out. Tomorrow’s panel meeting at least moves the ball forward.