Google Cars Need Mandatory Data Recorders Says NTSB
Top U.S. safety official Deborah Hersman, Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board wants to see Google’s self-driving cars to be equipped with mandatory data recorders. Google is at the forefront of the technology as it has been testing its own fleet of self-driving cars for quite some time now. But Hersman believes autonomous vehicles need to prove themselves to be safe. The data recorders mandate is being requested so that when an accident does occur with one of Google’s autonomous vehicles, data is able to be gathered in order to understand what happened.
“When you have a driverless car, you have to demonstrate on the front end that you have the data that shows it’s safe. But we would also say, you need to make sure you have good data recording capabilities, so when there is an event, you can understand what happened,” Hersman said in an interview. Hersman has seen the benefits of collecting more data and believes that it’s necessary to aid investigators in determining what went wrong seconds prior to an accident. Google’s autonomous vehicles currently logs performance data including speed, location and obstacles detected by the vehicle’s sensors. This is used to refine and modify the technology.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a recent report said 96 percent of passenger cars and light-duty vehicles from the 2013 model year come equipped with electronic data recorders. Last year, NHTSA also proposed that all new vehicles have mandatory black boxes installed in order to collect driver’s speed, braking, seat belt usage and air bag data. Vehicle owners however are concerned that the government could access the data while others are more worried that self-driving cars can pick up random information while on the road.