Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx recently released a 116-page policy document that aims to guide automakers and technologists on best-practices when it comes to the manufacturing and deployment of autonomous vehicle features. Apple, which has been rumored to be building a car, recently laid off employees of its automotive project and pivoted from making a car to creating autonomous software, according to reports. Another aftermarket self-driving tech company recently completed a successful 120-mile beer delivery without anyone at the wheel. A big rig cab equipped with sensors made by Otto, a startup bought by Uber recently for $670 million, made the delivery of Budweiser beer while its driver rested in the sleeper berth during most of the trip down Colorado's Interstate 25.
The fatal crash of a Tesla Motors Inc Model S in Autopilot mode has turned up pressure on auto industry executives and regulators to ensure that automated driving technology is deployed safely. On July 1, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said US traffic deaths rose by 7.7% to 35,200 in 2015 – the highest annual tally since 2008 and biggest single-year jump since 1966. In March, 20 automakers agreed with regulators to make automatic emergency braking standard on nearly all US vehicles by 2022, a move that could prevent thousands of rear-end crashes annually. Hours before the crash became public knowledge on June 30, US National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Christopher Hart said driverless cars will not be perfect.