There’s growing evidence of the natural link between autonomous and electric vehicles.
To help guide watchdogs, industry, and lawmakers in this key transition period, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) released its public policy recommendations for dealing with the rollout of AVs in an effort to build public confidence and design a flexible regulatory framework.
Critics may argue that the self-driving car phenomenon is premature, but as choices for drivers and commuters grow, attitudes will eventually shift, particularly with new technology expected to ease congestion, boost efficiency, and reduce traffic accidents.
One major sector of the economy, the trucking industry, promises to see enormous changes from autonomy, many of which will be for the better.
Given the controversy surrounding Tesla's Autopilot after it was possibly at fault for a deadly accident earlier this year, the recent announcement that all of the company’s vehicles will have fully autonomous hardware will likely stir up even more debate.
Fully autonomous vehicles on roads and highways could virtually eliminate traffic accidents, but it’s uncertain when such a scenario will occur. Right now, the country is in a midst of a crisis from car crashes, as reflected in recent government data showing a sharp rise in fatalities this year.
An Evolved Oil Market and New Vehicle Technologies Have Major Implications for Light Duty Fuel Economy
If it can be verified that the use of autonomous vehicles will improve overall fuel economy and reduce GHG emissions, the agencies should explore ways to maximize the benefits as soon as feasible.
Industry and government often find themselves in a somewhat counterproductive relationship in which companies aggressively oppose regulations. However, given the newness and many uncertainties around driverless car technology, the need for policy at the federal level has become clear.
Although some states like Michigan have adopted policies to advance autonomous vehicles, it’s clear that a patchwork of regulations could emerge, reinforcing the need for leadership at the federal level.
In a rare increase in stringency over the proposed rules, certain large trucks are required to be up to 25 percent more fuel efficient.