Alphabet (and others) Push to Promote Driverless Car Safety In Effort to Speed Regulation

Congress is moving forward on figuring out how to regulate the technology behind driverless cars (autonomous vehicles). With that, then, it is only a matter of time before we are going to see these things go mainstream. With that, then Alphabet Inc (Google’s parent company) is partnering its self-driving car unit, Waymo, with many other related groups to launch a campaign aimed at better educating skeptical Americans about their safety and value.

This campaign is called “Let’s Talk Self Driving,” and it will start with digital advertising as well as outdoor advertising in Arizona; this is where the company will be testing its new autonomous vehicle prototypes.

So who is partnering with Alphabet, Inc on this project?

How about Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Safety Council, the Foundation for Blind Children, and the Foundation for Senior Living; to namea few. The hope, of course, is to assuage the public to feel more comfortable with not only the idea of owning these vehicles but, more likely, sharing the road with them as they become more commonplace.

Announcing the campaign, Waymo CEO John Krafcik sympathizes: “There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to self-driving cars. As with any new technology, there’s great enthusiasm and curiosity about self-driving cars — and there’s some confusion, too.”

At the same time, the USDoT shared just last week that US traffic deaths rose by nearly 6 percent in 2016, up to 37,461. And this increase, they calculate could coincide with an increase in drunk-driving related accidents.

National Safety Council CEO Deborah Hersman comments, “Automation holds incredible promise, but as our driving culture evolves, Americans will need to understand what self-driving vehicles can and cannot do.” Hersman is also a former chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

In addition, MADD President Colleen Sheehey-Church notes, “We must look for new ways to stop old problems. Fully autonomous vehicle technology holds incredible potential to completely eliminate drunk driving and other causes of traffic deaths.”

All that in mind, then, a US Senate panel gave a unanimous green light to a bill which aims to expedite the testing and development of self-driving cars. This measure will also prevent states from imposing regulatory obstacles which would impede such development. Of course, the bill still must go before a full Senate vote.