This morning in Detroit, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the plan to develop a blueprint for driverless technology within the next six months. Many a car maker is racing to be the first to develop a fully autonomous vehicle, but nobody has any idea when such a car would even be allowed to hit the road without a human ready to take control at a moment’s notice. Given that, companies like Google, Tesla, Nissan, and more are likely to welcome the Obama administration’s new initiative to help support self-driving car technology.
To date, there has been no clear legal framework on a federal level to address the issue of driverless cars on American roadways, although many states have taken up the cause. The next six months will change everything. The promise of upcoming self-driving car rules is likely to encourage new competitors in the market, and sweeten the pot for car companies who aren’t sure about whether to pursue the futuristic technology. Foxx’s announcement was timed in the midst of the Detroit Auto Show, an event during which automakers unveil engineering marvels, new concept vehicles, and upcoming consumer car features.
The secretary was also expected to announce the President’s plan to add $4 billion to the 2017 budget specifically to support and “accelerate” vehicle automation projects as part of a 10-year plan.
This announcement comes one day after the White House’s #BigBlockOfCheeseDay, when the public is invited to ask questions of government officials on Twitter in exchange for frank responses with a side of cheesy puns. Cheddar or not (get it?) you’re interested in someday owning a car that doesn’t need you in order to travel around town, you’ve got to be grateful that the big cheese is finally taking a stance on the emerging technology.
If and when self-driving cars become legal in the U.S., I can’t see Obama personally getting on board. After all, he’s spent nearly eight years riding around in the back seat, he probably can’t wait to take the wheel. That, and I have it on good authority that the man is an excellent driver.
Via The Verge