The most valuable company in the world just a wrote a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Many have been wondering if Apple has plans to build a car, since the consumer electronics company has been hiring engineers from automakers for a secret project, codenamed Titan. The letter confirmed these rumors, since the company is now openly encouraging regulators to create looser safety restrictions on self-driving cars.
What Does Apple Have to Say About Car Safety Restrictions?
Currently, technology companies such as Apple have to apply for approval when they create a new vehicle for testing. Safety officials need to ensure that a car is safe before the business can start driving it on public streets. Steve Kenner, the Apple executive who wrote the letter, thinks that needs to change. He urged the NHTSA to allow Apple to self-police the safety of its own test vehicles.
He argues that this is not much different from current safety standards, since established carmakers can test vehicles on the road if they self-check based on pre-agreed safety standards. This allows car companies like General Motors to test new cars without repeatedly going to government agencies. Apple believes that self-driving cars should have to follow the same rules.
Are Self-Driving Cars Really the Same?
Some might argue that self-driving cars pose unique issues that require a government body because they can potentially be more dangerous than traditional cars. It is still uncertain what the risks could be for new technologies. From the perspective of technology companies like Apple, however, self-driving cars have a track record of being safe when compared to other vehicles. From this point of view, the difference is an unfair advantage for traditional car manufacturers.
What do you think of Apple’s letter to the NHTSA? Should upstart carmakers like Apple and Google be able to self-police when it comes to putting test cars on the roads?