Technological advancements should be celebrated, but as we have learned multiple times they are also something that needs to be regulated.

A tragic example of this took place last week in Arizona.

One of Uber’s autonomous vehicle’s it had been testing in a Phoenix suburb struck and killed a pedestrian. Now Uber has suspended all testing across the United States and a program in Toronto.

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The 49-year-old woman was walking outside of the crosswalk with a bike when she was hit by a Volvo SUV going around 65 km per hour. This type of technology is supposed to detect ‘pedestrians, cyclists and others to prevent crashes.’ The weather conditions were calm and clear.

With little regulations in Canada for autonomous vehicles, it is time for us to ask if we feel comfortable on the road or crosswalks with self-driving cars that still haven’t ‘worked out all of the kinks.’

“I’m concerned about highway safety. I am concerned about jobs,” Hoffa said in an interview with the Associated Press in 2017. “I am concerned we are moving too fast in a very, very strategic area that we have to make sure we are doing it right because lives are involved.”

The Teamsters Union in the U.S. and Canada have been closely monitoring all aspects of the technology, ‘urging lawmakers to prioritize safety and transparency in rules concerning the testing phase of self-driving vehicles.’

Last year, BlackBerry QNX launched testing of a self-driving car in Ottawa and this year Suncor Energy Inc. announced a project to deploy driverless hauling trucks at mines in northern Alberta to replace the ones humans operate, eliminating 400 jobs.

But regulations and laws regarding safety have not kept up with this technology in Canada.

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Earlier this year a Senate committee in Canada released a report warning of the potential threats to safety, pointing out that departments and levels of government are taking ‘contradictory approaches to automated vehicles and the federal government needs to better co-ordinate action.’

It also recommended that the government invest in its own research into safety, especially considering the unpredictable and harsh weather Canada can get.

Vehicles are not toys. They can be deadly weapons on the road and Canadians need to be taking self-driving technology regulations seriously. We don’t want to see what happened in Arizona happen again.

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