Federal and state officials, once eager advocates of self-driving cars, now are pumping the brakes and demanding greater accountability and information that autos and tech companies may not be willing to provide.
Until now, governments have been willing to let private industry lead the way in development of autonomous technology, with light-touch and voluntary guidance from NHTSA and states such as California, Arizona and Michigan. After two high-profile fatalities related to self-driving cars, issues such as system malfunction, the limits of human attention span, and broader legal questions have come to the forefront of public conversation.
And lawmakers suddenly are realizing how little they know about the technology.
"It was not an issue that I knew a whole a lot about, and I was just bombarded by all sides," said Indiana Republican state Sen. Michael Crider, who oversaw the state's attempt to introduce autonomous regulation, which failed one month ago. "I'm sick of the whole topic."