Waymo’s Self-Driving Car Plan for California Shows Major Gaps in Oversight

Phil Koopman, an engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University who specializes in testing automotive software, backs a similar concept. Regulators and automakers should be working toward a system where companies deploying new technology submit data to a third party that performs some sort of independent verification, he says. That’s the model used by industries with safety-critical missions, such as aviation and chemical plants, Koopman says.

“In every case, we’re relying on the designers to tell us that they did it right,” he says. “There are no external checks and balances. Waymo’s going to deploy these vehicles, and we’re basically taking their word for it that it’s safe.”