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Professional Engineers & Autonomous Vehicles

An autonomous vehicle is a mode of transportation that can detect the environment around it and make decisions without any human interaction. Essentially, a computer is driving around the passengers. While this new technology makes some people excited, it makes others feel uneasy. The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) is working hard to reverse that feeling.

Whether you are for or against the implementation of driverless cars, they are closer to occupying our roads than they’ve ever been. These vehicles decrease the probability of human error on the road but pose safety concerns. Potential hacker threats, undetected bicyclists or animals, and system glitches have caused the public to feel unsure about the future of the road.

The NSPE is influencing regulations at both the state and federal levels. They are looking to make a difference with requirements for approved vehicles to get out on the road. The goal is to convince federal and state policymakers that a licensed professional engineer is necessary, even critical, to the regulating process. If the NSPE can convince these government bodies to make an engineer inspection a lawful requirement, the process will become drastically more comprehensive and complete. The autonomous vehicles that are eventually sold to the public will pose significantly lower risks. Both the NSPE and New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers refuse to play around with safety and public health.

Think about this: would you feel safer in your new, driverless car if it had the stamp of approval from a licensed professional engineer with decades of experience? This seems like a no-brainer, which is why we continue to oppose manufacturers self-approving their vehicles.

We will state our case to policymakers until a licensed engineer is an unmistakable part of the approval process for autonomous vehicles. Safety is too important to have it any other way. Learn more about the work of professional engineers on njspe.org.


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