Monday, January 18, 2016

U.S. Proposes Spending $4 Billion on Self-Driving Cars

The New York Times (01/14/16) Bill Vlasic

The Obama administration on Thursday promised to accelerate regulatory guidelines for driverless cars and make an investment in research to commercialize them.  U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, "we are bullish on autonomous vehicles" at the North American International Auto Show.  He pledged the government will remove obstacles to their development, as well as setting further guidelines within six months concerning functions the vehicles must perform to be deemed safe.  Foxx said the president's proposed budget for the next fiscal year will include $4 billion to underwrite research projects and infrastructure improvements associated with driverless cars.  He cited autonomous vehicles' potential to reduce traffic accidents and improve road safety.  Executives at Google and other firms developing the technology welcomed the announcement.  "It takes real collaboration with our regulators so this is done right and done safely," notes General Motors' Mark Reuss.  Foxx said the government is authorized to permit limited deployment of 2,500 driverless vehicles by a lone company for a two-year period, and he called on firms to solicit interpretations of existing federal vehicle standards from regulators for new technologies under development.  Foxx also emphasized liability issues and other matters related to autonomous cars the government must address over the next six months.

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