Many carmakers have softened their stances on driverless technology because they’re not sure if the tech is quite ready for the mainstream.
Financial Times reported that the mood about driverless cars has been noticeably different at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and that some companies that had previously touted the technology seem less eager to make the transition.
For example, as recently as two years ago, Audi was pushing the launch of its first car that would take full control away from the driver, only asking for assistance when the car ran into a problem that was too complex for it to handle. This level of autonomy is known as Level 3. A fully autonomous vehicle would be a level 5, the highest level.
The problem is that regulators are worried about the legality of such a system, because the nuances of whether it can work in an emergency are questionable. Consequently, Audi has never used the software in the U.S.
Part of the concern is whether a driver will be ready to take the wheel at a moment’s notice when the car requests it, and also the question of who will be responsible if something goes wrong.