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What’s Important about Uber’s Autonomous Vehicle Announcements?

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Inside Unmanned Systems discusses Uber's announcement of testing self-driving taxis with Marc Scribner. 

At least one industry observer believes one Uber announcement could mean more than the others. “The Otto announcement is particularly interesting, given that many in the industry believe truck platooning represents the near-term commercial goal for autonomous vehicle technology,” said Marc Scribner, Competitive Enterprise Institute analyst. “It signals to me that Uber is serious about bringing this technology to market as rapidly as possible.”

One potentially huge, and early, autonomous vehicle market lies within the trucking industry, specifically the employment of tractor-trailer platooning. However, state regulations may hamper what may be a market some say will save lives and money.

Scribner, in a new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, “Authorizing Automated Vehicle Platooning, A Guide for State Legislators,” says there are great cost savings and safety gains from trucking platooning. However, state laws are different across each border—and some stand in the way of quick rollout of autonomous vehicle technology, he said.

Scribner contends there are “a range of uniformed opinions” that hurt the debate on road vehicle automation. These opinions range from popular press stories that autonomous vehicles should be banned because of their threat to public transit and the environment. The other extreme includes implementing the technology by 2018 because it promises safety benefits over traditional driving.

Read the full article at Inside Unmanned Systems