Self-driving cars have a new supporter: President Obama.
After talking in his last State of the Union address this week about investing in the country’s transportation system, Obama and his Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a 10-year, $4 billion plan to fund pilot projects that would accelerate the adoption of self-driving autonomous vehicles. Such programs, if funded in the fiscal year 2017 federal budget, will test connected vehicle systems in “designated corridors” around the country and work toward a multi-state regulatory framework that covers the industry.
“We are on the cusp of a new era in automotive technology with enormous potential to save lives, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and transform mobility for the American people,” Secretary Foxx said in a statement. “Today’s actions and those we will pursue in the coming months will provide the foundation and the path forward for manufacturers, state officials, and consumers to use new technologies and achieve their full safety potential.”
Foxx made the announcement from the Detroit Auto Show on Thursday alongside major automakers (including GM, Ford, Volvo, and Tesla) as well as Google. The news comes less than two weeks after GM invested $500 million in ride-sharing app Lyft to partner on automated vehicle technology. Ford has also reportedly been in talks on a partnership with Google, one of the leaders in self-driving car software.
As part of the announcement, regulators are acknowledging what many in tech circles have argued for years: that the vast majority of car crashes are caused by human error. “NHTSA is using all of its available tools to accelerate the deployment of technologies that can eliminate 94 percent of fatal crashes involving human error,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in a statement. “We will work with state partners toward creating a consistent national policy on these innovations, provide options now and into the future for manufacturers seeking to deploy autonomous vehicles, and keep our safety mission paramount at every stage.”
The details of the new pilot programs are still vague, beyond exploring a “consistent national policy” regarding self-driving cars that allows auto and tech companies to test and assess new cars. But companies in the space are already backing the President’s plan.
“We are optimistic about the Obama administration’s plan to support the introduction of autonomous cars,” a Lyft spokesperson said in a statement to Forbes. “Safety is the top priority for Lyft and GM’s on-demand autonomous network which will introduce self-driving cars to the US. We look forward to continuing to work with federal, state, and local governments to shape the future of mobility.”
Live Casino – Source : Forbes