Safety and regulatory issues could present roadblocks
Several factors could slow the expansion of fully autonomous vehicles. Highly publicized fatalities involving AVs could turn public opinion against them, even if they prove to be statistically far safer than human drivers.
Another barrier to AV adoption is cybersecurity — nobody wants a 2,000-pound object traveling at 65 miles an hour in the hands of hackers. Security issues involving AVs are a long way from being resolved.
But the biggest roadblock may be regulatory concerns. Our group felt that some regulators are skeptical of claims that AVs will reduce congestion, enhance environmental quality, or provide all citizens with better access to goods and services.
The US Department of Energy’s estimates on the environmental impact of AVs are all over the map — ranging from a 90 percent reduction in fuel consumption to a 250 percent increase.
The bottom line: With billions of dollars of public and private investment pouring into autonomous technology, this could be a Henry Ford-like moment for transportation. We at Mayfield believe it’s vitally important to keep our eyes on the prize: making sure companies implement AVs in ways that improve human lives.
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