Autonomous vehicles Education safety

Subcommittee Hearing on Self Driving Cars

image of autonomous vehicle Telecommunications and AVs

At a recent House of Representatives subcommittee hearing on self driving cars, Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL) kicked off her five minutes of questions for the panelists with a quick appraisal of the toaster-shaped autonomous shuttle that has puttered around her district in Gainesville, Florida, for the past three years.

From the Verge by Andrew J. Hawkins.

“It moves not very fast,” Cammack said with a grimace. “So there’s a lot of frustrations with it, I’ll say that.”

That’s something that the Gainesville Autonomous Shuttle has in common with Congress: neither seems to be much in a hurry.

The hearing on Wednesday, entitled “Self-Driving Legislative Framework: Enhancing Safety, Improving Lives and Mobility, and Beating China,” was the first related to autonomous vehicles in over a year. The goal was to break the logjam that has stalled AV legislation in Congress for over six years over disagreements ranging from increasing the number of autonomous vehicles on the road to prohibiting states from setting their own performance standards for AVs.

But based on the questions asked by lawmakers during the two-and-a-half-hour hearing, it doesn’t seem as if a breakthrough is anywhere on the horizon.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, said at the hearing that Congress “cannot simply dust off six-year-old legislation and ignore the substantial issues that have emerged in recent years… Liability loopholes are emerging. Workforce impacts are becoming more apparent.”

A lot has happened since the first AV-related bill was introduced in Congress six years ago. The self-driving car industry has shrunk considerably, as funding has dried up and rosy predictions about the number of AVs that would appear on the road have failed to come to pass. Smaller startups were gobbled up by larger firms. Most AV operators have laid off employees; one shut down completely.

For the complete article on the subcommittee hearing CLICK HERE.

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