The Department of Transportation's new guidelines for the deployment of autonomous-driving technology provide the flexibility and clarity that the auto industry has long sought. Here's how other some key stakeholders are reacting to the regulators' approach.
"While we welcome innovation and the life-saving potential of [autonomous vehicles], we are concerned about life-threatening dangers in a rush to market. The improvements promised by AVs need to be framed and encouraged by federal safety standards which DOT has the authority to issue today. The DOT must ensure that the American public is not used to "beta test' these new technologies."
-- Jacqueline Gillan
President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
"This guidance report is an important step acknowledging the need for federal officials to collaborate effectively with manufacturers and state authorities. ... As this collaborative process moves forward, I expect new needs for oversight and Congress' role will come more clearly into focus."
-- U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.
Chairman, Senate Commerce Committee
"There are always those who argue that government should stay out of free enterprise entirely, but I think most Americans would agree we still need rules to keep our air and water clean, and our food and medicine safe. That's the general principle here. ... And make no mistake: If a self-driving car isn't safe, we have the authority to pull it off the road. We won't hesitate to protect the American public's safety."
-- President Barack Obama
"We are pleased that DOT is planning to address these issues ... but it must not shy away from assuring public safety with minimum federal vehicle safety standards. It should not rely instead on mere guidance, including for the initial elements of automatic vehicle operation such as Automatic Emergency Brakes that currently is only guided with a useless voluntary industry standard."
-- Joan Claybrook
Former NHTSA administrator
"We see a future where self-driving cars will save thousands of lives on our roads. A self-driving car can't get drunk. A self-driving car can't get distracted. And a self-driving car will follow the traffic laws and prioritize safety for pedestrians and bicyclists."
-- Colleen Sheehey-Church
National president, MADD