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US Government Commits to Self-Driving Cars

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Nissan Autonomous Drive

Here at The News Wheel, we feel as if we have been talking about autonomous cars for ages. Several automakers, along with Google and Apple, have been developing technology for cars that can drive themselves, and current features that allow production vehicles to park themselves and brake in emergency situations demonstrate the progress being made. At the Detroit Auto Show, US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx made an appearance to discuss the future of self-driving cars on America’s roads.

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Within the next six months, Secretary Foxx hopes to have a concrete plan and proposed rules for a national policy on autonomous cars and their operations. Currently, each state has separate laws and policies to govern the vehicles, and they vary widely. Consistent laws will help spur innovation, as companies will be able to test self-driving cars in several states and the different climates and challenges each offers. Currently, most testing takes place on the West Coast, but for an autonomous car to be ready for the rest of the United States it needs to have a chance to take on snowy road conditions and intense rain.

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Beyond rules governing testing, the Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will also be working on guidelines and regulations for self-driving cars with actual customers behind the wheel. This means that the government is preparing for the (hopefully) eventual mass rollout of these vehicles to the market.

It was also announced that President Obama will include four billion dollars in his budget for fiscal year 2017 to support programs and testing for autonomous vehicles. The president’s budget will be unveiled in early February along with the complete program details.

News Source: The Verge