For starters autonomous vehicles don’t need rear-view mirrors, or (eventually) steering wheels for the future that is in store. This eventually calls for an overriding of the current regulations panel that has been laid out for automakers to follow and comprehend by. The focus now shifts onto the technical side of things, as motor vehicles will now become essentially computers on wheels.
The software and not the hardware will now become the more significant component for validation. This will make most government regulation unnecessary, and, to the extent that it slows innovation, could even cost lives on the highway.
One difference between self-driving cars and traditional automobiles is that companies will have every incentive to fix safety problems immediately. With today’s cars, that hasn’t always been the case. The safety problems of the future will primarily be bugs in software not hardware, so they’ll be fixed by sending binary codes over the internet without the need for customers to return hundreds of thousands of vehicles to the manufacturer.