Why Self-Driving Car Companies Are Cheering Congress Today

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Serving as chairman of the House Energy Commerce Committee, Oregon Representative Greg Walden sees autonomous vehicles as providing an unprecedented increase in safety on our roadways.

Nicknamed the Self-Drive Act, this bill is dedicated to giving automotive companies the ability to test their autonomous vehicles more freely.

We've been following the progress of the SELF DRIVE Act, legislation that would allow autonomous vehicles on regular roads, for awhile now. "Self-driving technology for trucks and other large vehicles has emerged as a pivotal issue in Congress' attempt to help usher in a new era of transportation", said Senator Thune. This provision ensures that self-driving cars are developed with seniors and the underserved in mind.

President Donald Trump's administration is set to reveal modified self-driving vehicle guidelines next week in MI, in response to automakers' calls for removal of legal barriers to putting autonomous vehicles on the road, sources informed on the matter stated. "We kept our heads down". The lopsided vote came in spite of concerns raised by some Democrats and criticism over the lack of input on the bill from NHTSA, which still doesn't have a top official appointed by the Trump administration.

Current federal rules bar self-driving cars without human controls on USA roads and automakers think proposed state rules in California are too restrictive.

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Trade groups representing companies such as Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Lyft Inc. and others working on the technology voiced strong support for the bill. One open question is whether or not the Senate bill will include commercial vehicles.

Wade Newton, senior director of communications for the Auto Alliance, an industry lobbying group, says exempting the vehicles would speed development of beneficial new transportation technologies. The bill will also allow the deployment of up to 25,000 self driving vehicles in the first year and raising up to 100,000 a year by the third year.

Meanwhile, some consumer groups have sought additional safeguards.

Volkswagen AG and many other automakers have been lobbying Congress to act, often bringing test vehicles to Capitol Hill to give lawmakers a chance to test out a driverless auto.

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