Self-driving cars are just around the corner

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President Obama doesn’t just intend to invest in a 21st century transportation system; he’s already revealed part of his proposal.

During his last State of the Union address on Jan. 5, Obama announced his intent. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced part of the President’s proposal which would provide a nearly $4 billion investment over 10 years for pilot programs designed to test vehicle systems and work with industry leaders to accelerate the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation in a press release on Thursday Jan. 14.

FILE - In this January, 2015 file photo, attendees sit in the self-driving Mercedes-Benz F 015 concept car at the Mercedes-Benz booth at the International CES in Las Vegas. While self-driving cars of tomorrow already are being tested on public roads, newly released safety data support the cautionary view that the technology has many miles to go. That doesn’t mean relief is decades away. It’s possible that within a few years, mainstream cars will drive themselves reliably - on routes they have mastered, in weather they can handle. And with a person ready to grab the wheel.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
In this January, 2015 file photo, attendees sit in the self-driving Mercedes-Benz F 015 concept car at the Mercedes-Benz booth at the International CES in Las Vegas. While self-driving cars of tomorrow already are being tested on public roads, newly released safety data support the cautionary view that the technology has many miles to go. (AP Photo)

The policy, which is expected to be developed within the next six months, will provide a policy for states to follow if they decide to allow autonomous cars on public roads.

Foxx made the announcement at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where he emphasized a focus on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s integration of automotive technology to further improve safety and sustainability.

“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,” said Secretary Foxx.  “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 also unveiled updated Policy guidelines clarifying the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2013 preliminary policy statement on autonomous vehicles, reflecting on the reality that widespread deployment of fully autonomous vehicles is now feasible.

“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,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind in a press release.  “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.”

 

 

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