The rosy glow surrounding AVs lost some of its luster last year when safety concerns grew, in a large part because of Uber’s deadly collision in Arizona. Public trust in the technology took a hit and calls for greater local and federal regulations intensified. The incident changed the discussion from simply covering what AVs will be able to do to figuring out how to do those things more safely. The deadly collision also appeared to have a slowing effect on the AV industry, in that technology and vehicle developers seemed in less of a rush to release the technology before the competition and put more emphasis on getting it right.
Local, state and federal governments are in a tricky spot with AVs because they don’t develop the vehicles or related technology, but they are expected to ensure public safety through regulation. Yet, government’s knowledge of such emerging technologies is limited. However, at this point leaders have a better idea of necessary safety requirements or at least the questions to ask about how AVs could affect the public.