4 Coolest Mobility Trends of 2017 – Page 4

4. Regulation


Yes, regulation can be cool, at least when it comes to mobility and autonomous driving.

In fact, regulators have (mostly) been nothing but “cool” recently, inviting companies to help shape rules and guidelines that pertain to self-driving cars. “What’s interesting is how softly policy makers have started stepping into this area,” said Alex Fiechter of Local Motors, which 3D prints automobiles, among other things. “Not in the usual bull-in-the-china-shop way of ‘we are going to come in, lock this down and control it, and then let it evolve under our control,’ but more like ‘looking for your suggestions,’ and offering us guidelines, not rules.”

The state of Michigan has, so far, been the leader of this “soft” approach. Starting Jan. 6, Michigan allows manufacturers to test, deploy, and — eventually — sell self-driving vehicles. Only a handful of other states currently have any legal framework around autonomous vehicles. The state also reworked its definition of a “manufacturer,” so that non-traditional OEMs – such as Google or Apple – can also take advantage of the new rules.

Having a universal legal framework is crucial in further development and deployment of cutting-edge mobility tech. Recognizing that, the U.S. Department of Transportation formed a special task force – DOT Automation Committee – consisting of tech rockstars, policymakers and OEM representatives in order to set the groundwork. 

“All this unties our hands and allows us to come up with more interesting stuff, quicker,” Fiechter added.

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