Will Autonomous Vehicle Makers Get Back into Gear in 2022?

Moving into 2022, many AV manufacturers hope to build trust with increasingly skeptical lawmakers and consumers. Phil Koopman, a Carnegie-Mellon University associate professor with appointments in the department of electrical and computer engineering and with the Robotics Institute, believes that Tesla’s use of vehicle owners as “beta testers” is reckless and damaging to the image of the entire autonomous vehicle industry. “Reckless, because [drivers] are running stop signs, running red traffic lights, and veering across centerlines on public roads,” he explains. “Tesla is using civilian drivers who are neither specifically trained in testing safety nor operating according to best practices for road testing safety.”

Koopman says that the stance taken by the entire AV industry “to push back hard against any requirement to follow safety standards” further erodes public trust. He notes that manufacturers face a choice in 2022 and beyond. “They can continue to take an adversarial approach with regulators and have a problem when a high-profile crash forces regulators to intervene, or they can take a cooperative approach now while they still have time.”