Andrew J. Hawkins writing for the The Verge reports, “The AV industry’s top lobbying group in Washington, DC is rebranding, dropping the reference to “self-driving” in exchange for a more straightforward moniker. The group, which was founded in 2016 by Waymo, Ford, Lyft, Uber, and Volvo, lobbies lawmakers to pass legislation favorable to its members. It has since grown to include the top Autonomous Vehicle operators in the country, including Cruise, Aurora, Argo AI, Motional, Nuro, and Zoox.”
He continues, “It’s the latest move by the AV industry to distance itself from the term “self-driving,” which many observers interpret as an acknowledgment of Tesla’s influence on the public’s awareness of the technology.
Tesla sells a feature called “Full Self-Driving,” which is a beta version of an advanced driver-assist system that controls some of the car’s functions on local roads but still requires human supervision. In contrast, autonomous vehicles are cars that can operate on public roads without any human intervention or supervision.
To be sure, the lobbying group doesn’t reference Tesla in its announcement, but it does say that its new name better aligns with its members’ “commitment to precision and consistency in how the industry, policymakers, journalists and the public talk about autonomous driving technology.” The group goes on:
The association recently called on all stakeholders to clearly distinguish between AVs and driver-assist to boost consumer trust and understanding. AVIA advocates for autonomous vehicles, which perform the entire driving task. AVs do not require human operators, not even to serve as a backup driver; the people or packages in the vehicle are just passengers or freight.
A year ago, Waymo announced that it would stop using the term “self-driving cars” to describe its fleet of vehicles in an effort to use “more deliberate language” in its marketing, educational, and promotional materials. The company cited “some automakers” who use “the term ‘self-driving’ in an inaccurate way,” which can lead to confusion and possibly crashes.”
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