Consumers have been restless to see the advancements in technology for self-driving cars. Apple, Inc. has recently shown interest in joining the race to create the best automated driving service. They have called for avoiding the creation of federal regulations on testing and development.
Steve Kinner, the director of product integrity for Apple, wrote a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration extolling the virtues of the future of self-driving vehicles. This action was expected, as the technology industry had speculated on Apple’s interest in merging its innovative technology with consumer vehicles.
Automated systems are the keystone of the letter and will be the focus of Apple’s research and development. They are studying machine learning and automation technology to enhance the car driver’s experience. Besides the undeniable luxury and convenience, self-driving cars can save thousands of lives lost to car accidents, and provide reliable transportation.
The sudden increase in regulations on testing self-driving cars could impede the growth of this emerging market. Apple stresses that both established and new automobile manufacturers should have an equal opportunity to enter the market without hindrance.
Specialized software applications would have to be developed to keep people safe at all times while in their self-driving vehicles. Areas of particular concern include algorithms for personal safety, vehicle legality in different locations, and ease of mobility in a variety of situations. Developers must also consider the ramifications of self-driving cars on employment levels, the use of public spaces and infrastructure, and the appropriate levels of security.
There is a potential for considerable job losses if self-driving cars become the industry standard. Car insurance would no longer be necessary, nor would taxi drivers or truck deliveries. These repercussions are currently speculation but could be offset by increases in self-driving car technicians and specialists.
Apple spokesman, Tom Neumayr, noted that the company has already invested considerably in machine learning along with other autonomous systems, indicating that they desire to be an active player in this emerging field. Apple seeks to assist the NHTSA in crafting the best practices and policies for self-driving vehicles.
The Obama administration recently released safety assessment guidelines for automobile makers. Included within these fifteen guidelines is the strong urging to disclose their proposed processes and systems to federal regulators voluntarily.
However, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook never specified their desire to investigate self-driving cars. Instead, he focused on Apple product integration and the creation of new entertainment systems in vehicles.
Reports speculating on Apple’s acquisition of automotive experts to support research has not yet been verified.
While they may not want their purposes publicly known, they would be joining the company of other businesses such as Google, Ford, Volkswagen, Daimler, Tesla, and General Motors. Apple was rumored to be in communication with McLaren Technology Group. However, no deals could be confirmed.
Apple’s recent interest in self-driving vehicle regulations lends their voice to a range of other companies who are hesitant to embrace regulations on a budding market. The incoming presidential administration has been asked to review all current regulations on self-driving cars.