The future of self-driving cars continues to accelerate. The Obama Administration has announced an investment of $3.9 billion into the 2017 budget for a 10-year plan to support the technology.
Correspondingly, Anthony Foxx, the Department of Transportation secretary, has unveiled a plan. It’s the legal framework for autonomous driving technology that would encourage consistent rules across all 50 states.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be in charge in drafting the framework.
Although the federal government can dictate manufacturing regulations, non-interstate highway traffic laws are left to the states. California, Nevada, Michigan and Florida have their own respective regulations on self-driving cars, creating a rough patchwork of rules.
Foxx encouraged car companies to work with the Department of Transportation and federal agencies to help update the current laws.
Foxx announced BMW’s self-parking feature was recently passed by the NHTSA in meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards, using it as an example of how cooperative the federal government will be to new automotive technology.
Google, Ford, Kia and others tested self-driving prototypes on public roads at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week
According to a 2015 study by McKinsey & Company looking into the world of driverless cars, fatalities from car accidents could fall by as much as 90 percent and save $190 billion.
Article Last Updated: January 15, 2016.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.