Obama Administration Makes Autonomous Technology a Priority

DOT and NHTSA policy has been updated to encourage emerging automotive innovation.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx revealed Thursday the Obama Administration’s intention toward investing and embracing vehicle automation while speaking at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

According to , Foxx said the President is seeking to put roughly $4 billion dollars toward “the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation through real-world pilot projects.” Furthermore, Secretary Foxx explained that his department was looking toward eliminating possible roadblocks that might stand in the way of innovative automotive technology. “We are on the cusp of a new era in automotive technology with enormous potential to save lives, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and transform mobility for the American people…Today’s actions and those we will pursue in the coming months will provide the foundation and the path forward for manufacturers, state officials, and consumers to use new technologies and achieve their full safety potential.”

Foxx also expressed policy guidance that updates the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2013 original stance toward autonomous vehicles. The document DOT/NHTSA Policy Statement Concerning Automated Vehicles 2016 Update To Preliminary Statement Of Policy Concerning Automated Vehicles states that:

“Within six months, NHTSA will propose best-practice guidance to industry on establishing principles of safe operation for fully autonomous vehicles… DOT/NHTSA will continue to work with the States, with other governmental entities and with industry to help ensure that this testing takes place in a way that protects safety on today’s roads while increasing safety for tomorrow.”

Furthermore, the U.S. DOT is encouraging manufacturers to submit rule interpretation requests in order to facilitate technology innovation and appeals to use the agency’s exemption authority to bring about the deployment of fully autonomous vehicles. (Exemption authority permits the NHTSA to assist in the deployment of up to 2,500 vehicles for up to two years, if an exemption is determined to help develop new safety features.)

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