Leaders in San Francisco Met With Autonomous Executives Over Driverless Car Safety

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【Summary】In light of the recent incident involving one of Uber’s self-driving cars in Arizona, leaders in San Francisco attended a summit on driverless machines.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Mar 31, 2018 9:15 AM PT
Leaders in San Francisco Met With Autonomous Executives Over Driverless Car Safety

By now, the incident involving one of Uber's self-driving vehicles and a bicyclist in Tempe, Ariz. has been combed through and covered at great length. The tragedy is big news as it's one of the first incidents involving a driverless vehicle and a pedestrian. While the accident only happened days ago, things are already changing when it comes to self-driving vehicles. 

A lot of companies that are testing self-driving vehicles have halted their programs in the midst of the accident. But it's not just companies that are looking to change with it comes to autonomous vehicles. Leaders in key cities, like San Francisco, are looking for things to become different. 

San Francisco Looks To Get Ahead In Safety

As ABC 7 News reports, city leaders and public safety officials in San Francisco met with executives from autonomous car companies to talk about the future of self-driving cars. While the summit had been planned for weeks, the fatal crash in Arizona probably changed the dialogue of the meeting. 

Despite not having the final say-so with what automakers and tech companies do with autonomous vehicles in the state, as that's up to California and not individual cities, San Francisco mayor Mark Farrell invited execs over from various companies. 

"This is the first step in what I hope to be a very long dialogue together," said Farrell in his opening remarks, reports the outlet. "From my point of view, this is the future of our city, this is the future of our roads." 

Having an open line of communication with major players in the self-driving scene will only prove to be helpful for Farrell and other lawmakers, but it also helps them let companies know what they're looking for, as companies have started to flood San Francisco's streets with autonomous cars. 

"Obviously, what happened in Arizona is very unfortunate," Farrell told reporters outside of the meeting. "We certainly don't want to see that — nobody wants to see that — replicated anywhere around our country." 

Collaboration Is Key To Improving Safety

The summit's timing couldn't have been any better, as it comes a few days after the release of new footage in the Arizona accident. That, as Farrell explains, is a key aspect of why the summit took place. "It's exactly why we are collaborating," he said. "Because we do not want that to happen on the streets of San Francisco." 

The first step to avoiding a similar incident, at least in San Francisco's eyes is to get public safety officials into the loop. "Training our officers to interact with the vehicles, how do we deal with the vehicle in regard to any collisions and so on," said a San Francisco police commander at the meeting. 

As the outlet claims, San Francisco is the second densest city in the U.S. and has bicyclists and pedestrians traveling in a confined area. That means autonomous vehicles will have to be absolutely flawless before heading onto roads in the city. And that's something startup company Zoox agrees with. 

"Shows you this is not ready for prime time, we've got to see all of this development still go on," said Mark Rosekind, Zoox's chief safety innovation officer. 

With the recent incident in Arizona, a lot of companies have taken a step back from their autonomous programs, which reveals that automakers and companies still have a lot to learn when it comes to self-driving cars. 

via: ABC 7 News

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