Ford, Volvo Partner With Google, Uber And Lyft To Push Self-Driving Cars To Market

Apr 27, 2016 05:35 AM EDT | Vanessa Doctor

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Five companies are collaborating to ultimately introduce self-driving vehicles on public streets. A coalition is being formed to provide road rules and regulations that will make autonomous cars legal on the road.

Ford Motor Co., Volvo, Uber, the Google unit of Alphabet Inc., and Lyft are working together to promote federal action that will launch self-driving cars to the market at a faster pace. The partnership, called the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, stated that it will work with regulators, legislators and the public to realize the benefits of self-driving cars to safety and society.

"What people are looking for is clear rules of the road of what needs to be done for (fully autonomous) vehicles to be on the road. Nobody wants to take a shortcut on this,” said David Strickland, the coalition’s counsel and spokesman, in a report by Reuters. At present, regulations require fully autonomous vehicles to feature human controls to be legal. Google is pushing to allow an artificial intelligence system to independently pilot a self-driving car and still be deemed legal.

Strickland is a former top official of the U.S. National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), the top vehicle safety agency in the U.S. that is currently formulating new guidelines on self-driving vehicles. According to Strickland, the group is a full policy and messaging campaign and movement.

Bloomberg cites Uber in saying that self-driving cars will potentially help save millions of lives. About 1.3 million people die in traffic accidents every year. In 2014, there were 6.1 million crashes on U.S. roads. NHTSA also stated that 94 percent of all traffic crashes are due to human error. The coalition hopes that the introduction of self-driving cars will reduce the total soon. Ford stated that fully autonomous cars will help provide safe and efficient transportation to people. Even those who cannot drive will benefit from their goals.

One of the first objectives of the coalition is to work with businesses, civic groups and municipalities to create one clear set of federal standards that will successfully facilitate the introduction of autonomous vehicles to the market. Taggart Matthiesen, product director at Lyft, stated that in the future, autonomous vehicles will be a major mode of transportation.

NHTSA is currently holding public forums on its self-driving auto guidelines, which include comments from car manufacturers and tech companies. Hopefully, the guidance will be released in July 2016.

More updates and details on the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets are expected soon.

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