Fed Announces Program to Speed Self-Driving Cars to Market

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Google self driving car

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced Thursday that the Fed will create a standard guideline by July for bringing self-driving cars to market.  And it will fund a 10 year program at $4 billion to accelerate the deployment of self-driving cars.

A statement from the Dept. of Transportation said that it will work with the States and with automotive suppliers to craft a national policy for testing self-driving cars and then putting them safely on the road.  The main mandate of the DOT is to make driving safer, it said.

It will use as a guiding principle, “that technologies with proven, data-supported benefits that would make roads safer should be encouraged. DOT/NHTSA is committing to proposing this model policy within six months.”

It will help policy makers address issues at the advanced stages of automation and create a nationally consistent approach to the technology (currently some states have independent policies).

The Fed said the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) will use all its power to rapidly deploy safety innovations in cars. And it encouraged auto makers to seek use of NHTSA’s existing exemption authority to field test fleets that can show safety benefits of self-driving cars.

It stated, “However, it is becoming clear that existing NHTSA authority is likely insufficient to meet the needs of the time and reap the full safety benefits of automation technology. Through these processes, NHSTA will determine whether its authorities need to be updated to recognize the challenges autonomous vehicles pose.”

The Consumer Technology Association (formerly Consumer Electronics Association) applauded the DOT’s action.

CEO Gary Shapiro said, “Driverless cars will soon evolve from science fiction to reality, just as driver assistance systems did a few years ago. Self-driving technologies will transform the future of our mobility by removing human error to improve road safety, decrease the number of accidents and provide greater flexibility to consumers.

“While the benefits are immense, we must still address a number of policy and technology issues to ensure the success and mainstream adoption of autonomous vehicles. We need to establish standards for highway signs and lights; devise new approaches to regulating spectrum, liability, insurance and safety; and consider revised highway rules, parking structures and car-ownership paradigms.”

Source: NHTSA and CTA

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