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Driverless Cars of the Future Confront Rules Written for Drivers

  • Rewrite needed for 900 pages of rules dating to 1967
  • Estimates range up to seven years to get regulations done
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Race To Build Self-Driving Cars Accelerates

When the U.S. government finally got around to regulating auto safety in 1967, it insisted that every car have seatbelts and that the steering column be engineered to absorb impact so it wouldn’t spear the driver.

The safety rulebook has since swelled to nearly 900 pages and encompasses everything from electronic stability control to rear-view backup cameras. Through all the updates, however, the regulations remain premised on an assumption that may soon be obsolete: that a human would be at the wheel.