The auto-industry “cannot wait for perfect” when it comes to self-driving technology, according to Mark Rosekind, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Writing for The Wall Street Journal, John D. Stoll explains that despite recent criticism of Tesla following a fatal accident involving the company’s Autopilot feature, the NHTSA’s main objective is to reduce the total number of traffic fatalities.
Given the 35,000 that occurred in 2015, it is unsurprising that Stoll quotes Rosekind as saying, “We should be desperate for anything we can find to save people’s lives.”
While the NHTSA is investigating that fatal Tesla crash, it is encouraging to see a regulator take a holistic view towards the impact of innovation. Rather than following a precautionary principle that focuses on the worst case scenario, Rosekind, as Stroll portrays him, recognizes that autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles could be safer than traditional vehicles.
Furthermore, it seems that Rosekind understands that limiting consumer adoption of this technology through regulations and other governmental delays could ultimately leave more lives at risk.