Coalition for Future Mobility Pushes Congress for Autonomous Car Rules
Autonomous vehicles are finally starting to gain traction in the U.S. Driverless delivery vehicles are being used in some states, while others have even started to allow states to charge consumers for rides in autonomous vehicles. While companies and automakers are finally starting to introduce self-driving tech in meaningful ways, legislation at the federal level is nowhere to be found. The Coalition for Future Mobility wants that to change and is asking Congressional leaders to act to help the deployment of autonomous vehicles.
Companies Need Federal Help
In a press release, the coalition, which is comprised of 45 companies that include automakers, industry advocacy groups, and corporations, urged members of Congress to support important legislation that would advance the development and deployment of autonomous vehicles in the country. The coalition claims that failing to pass legislation for driverless vehicles would risk falling behind other countries and put America behind in "providing Americans a safer, more environmentally friendly, accessible, and equitable future in transportation."
In the Coalition for Future Mobility's view, there is a "critical need" for a federal framework that would bolster the development and roll-out of driverless vehicles. The coalition is asking for lawmakers to introduce laws at both the local and federal levels to help foster the growth of autonomous cars. At the moment, the federal government regulates the vehicles themselves, while states and cities handle regulate drivers.
"The U.S. is at the forefront of innovations that will transform transportation," said the coalition. "As we approach a pivotal moment in the evolution of this technology, we have an opportunity to work collaboratively and chart a course that sustains U.S. leadership and innovation of these critical and mobility solutions for decades to come."
U.S. Risks Falling Behind
As the coalition points out, the U.S. is falling behind other countries that have had regulations in place for autonomous vehicles for years. Britain introduced legislation on self-driving cars a few years ago, while China is claimed to be a leader in the segment. American companies and automakers are fearful that they may fall behind the pack because of regulatory challenges in the country.
At the moment, automakers have to seek a waiver from federal regulators to develop vehicles without traditional controls, like a steering wheel or pedals. Since autonomous won't have a human driver behind the wheel, they won't need these. Unfortunately, companies have to jump through loopholes to build self-driving cars with the design they want. Companies can only seek exemption from safety rules for up to 2,500 vehicles. Industry advocates believe that figure is too low to justify the incredibly high costs of manufacturing, developing, and testing self-driving cars.
U.S. lawmakers have had trouble trying to regulate autonomous technology over the years. Recent attempts to get lawmakers to pass new legislation to help regulate self-driving technology has fallen short as Congress has voiced concerns about the division of powers at the federal and state levels. Without the right laws, automakers and companies have their hands tied.
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