The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Mexico fans react after Mexico F Julián Quiñones 73rd-minute goal during the MexTour match between Mexico and Brazil at Kyle Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
‘The stuff of dreams’
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 11, 2024

As soon as the Mexico-Brazil soccer match at Kyle Field was announced, Jacob Svetz and Caitlin Falke saw an opportunity.  The match was scheduled...

The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&Ms football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
Gridiron glory to multi-event marvel
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • June 7, 2024

Special teams: Special events  “My favorite thing about an event is seeing the people come into the stadium and seeing their excitement...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

Emerging regulations on automated vehicles focus on safety, potential risks

Photo by Graphic by Rachel Grant

Automated cars that are currently on the roads actually have a relatively low level of automation in comparison to the potential they have.

As the technology for automated vehicles, or AVs, becomes increasingly developed, legal policies are being made to accommodate this new technology.
In recent years, car manufacturers have begun to include more automatic features in their vehicles to enhance both safety and style, and, according to researchers, it seems this is only the beginning of automation technologies. Because of this, government regulations are developing in response to potential risks or threats to human safety.
Jason Wagner, associate transportation researcher with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), said automated cars range in capabilities depending on their specific degree of automation.
“Automated vehicles right now have relatively low levels of automation,” Wagner said. “There’s classifications for talking about automated technologies. There’s six levels of automation, from 0 to level 5.”
Wagner said the most highly automated vehicles that are currently commercially available are still relatively minor compared to what could be introduced in the future.
“The most advanced ones that are on the market right now are at about level 2,” Wagner said. “Level 5 is a fully automated vehicle that can drive in all situations at or above the level of a human driver. Right now, automation is relatively simplistic and it can just do things like keeping pace with traffic or monitoring blind spots.”
Ginger Goodin, director of the Transportation Policy Researcher at TTI, said there are several questions regarding the safe and practical applications of vehicle automation which have prompted government regulation of the technology.
“What the federal government has done is put out some guidelines, saying, ‘If you’re going to develop these kinds of vehicles, there are certain criteria we want you to be considering. Like, what environment can it operate in? How are you going to protect data privacy? And what happens in a situation where the car can’t negotiate what’s in the driving environment?’” Goodin said.
Because automation is still relatively new, Goodin said policy makers are not yet able to anticipate every issue or hazard that could arise.
“We’re starting to do some explorations ourselves and we’re looking at the existing laws in the transportation code,” Goodin said. “We’re thinking about this technology as we understand it, and as we read the code, we say, ‘Okay, does the code still make sense if the operator is a self-driving car?’ When these laws were written, we didn’t even know that these technologies were on the horizon. It wasn’t considered.”
According to William Kohler, senior counselor in the Corporate Finance Practice Group of Dykema, one of the major components of safe vehicle automation the communication between cars.
“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is requiring that new vehicles, as they are manufactured, be equipped with radio frequency connectivity so that you can have what’s called ‘V to V’ — vehicle to vehicle — connectivity,” Kohler said.
In concordance with Goodin’s uncertainty about the legal prospects of AVs, Kohler said right now it is too early to tell. Specifically addressing accidents involving automated cars, he is not sure how the situation would play out.
“It would be a very complicated situation and the traditional legal framework wouldn’t apply,” Kohler said.
Kohler said they are looking to states which are already implementing policies regarding AVs to prepare for the future.
“At the state level, we’re watching state laws very closely,” Kohler said. “Michigan just passed a very generous autonomous vehicle law that was signed by the governor, where the system is the operator of the vehicle. That would seem to relieve the owner of the vehicle from responsibility. You can’t really call them the driver, they’re more of a passenger.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *