In developed countries, many local government companies set up a body which performs safety tests as well as environmental tests on new cars which are brought to market. This is to ensure that at least customers know what safety rating a car has achieved as well as level the playing field for all vehicles to ensure that a single standardized test is performed by a neutral party to agree on a score.
This same concept is now being brought up for autonomous cars. I think that is perfectly logical because with the technology still being tested and being such a game changer, it makes sense that there is a standardized test to ensure that all players would be able to get a score on series of tests done by a neutral party.
Mayor of San Francisco, Mark Farrell, sent a note to developers working on an autonomous vehicle, especially those who are currently performing those tests in his city, asking them to take part in a “safety assessment exercise”. What does that mean? He tabled out that the developers are required to provide detailed demonstrations to first responders, transit operators and also city officials. This is particularly key because, in the event of an accident, first responders know what to do and know how to react.
The last thing you want is that if you are trapped in a car and fireman come with their usual cutting equipment only to have them cut somewhere they are not supposed to and causing further damage to the situation. This will definitely spur other countries as well who are testing autonomous cars to also consider these type of tests.