The idea is to make sure when it comes to government regulations and oversight, everyone is on the same page.
The conference was organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, which wants to draw up a standard for the use of driverless vehicles on American roads.
Daniel Shapiro is with Nvidia, which he told KCBS makes the software for every driverless car in the world.
“This testimony that’s taking place right now is really designed to accelerate the pace that the regulators are putting in place the rights, sets of rules, guidelines,” Shapiro said.
For example, not all states currently allow autonomous-drive testing on their roads.
In Southern California, city leaders believe driverless cars could be useful for public transit.
“You know, we have a large senior population who this would help; people with physical disabilities,” Dr. Julian Gold, Beverly Hills City Councilman told KCBS.
But, the public may still need convincing that driverless cars are safe.
“I think that there needs to be a strong showing that people are standing behind their product. Not sure what that will look like, but people in this space need to convince the public that the technology is market ready,” Stephen Zoepf of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford said.
Google’s head of autonomous vehicles has said self-driving cars will be available to the public by 2020.
“Within the next decade? Absolutely. It’s already here. I think the question is, how soon can we get it safely on our streets?” NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind said.
In 2014, more than 32,000 people died in car crashes, and nearly all of them were caused by human error.
NHTSA’s lofty goal is to try and use safety technology to get that number down to zero.