A bicoastal conversation has been taking place this week around the future of self-driving vehicles and how to regulate this emerging technology. On the West Coast, I participated on a panel discussion at the Automated Vehicles Symposium in San Francisco. On the East Coast, Congress is working on developing policies to accelerate the deployment of self-driving technologies and promote safety.

Whether you are in Silicon Valley or in the ‘Swamp’ – there is a clear need for one set of running rules to support widespread introduction of automated vehicles.

Global Automakers has joined the Coalition for Future Mobility that includes automotive manufacturers, suppliers, and technology and transportation leaders. We have come together to support legislative measures that will optimize the safe testing and deployment of automated vehicles in a technology-neutral manner while continuing to let innovation thrive.

Congress has a key role to play in helping to remove barriers to innovation and expand opportunities to deploy these technologies and promote safety. We believe that government policy should:

  • Provide clarity concerning appropriate federal and state roles when it comes to highly automated vehicles, particularly any state laws or regulations related to their design or performance.
  • Direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to initiate a rulemaking to update current conventional vehicle standards that do not contemplate highly automated vehicles.
  • Provide a safe mechanism by which to deploy highly automated vehicles (while NHTSA updates current vehicle standards) by expanding the number and duration of exempt vehicles allowed under existing statutory authority

Now is the time to set the right policy framework at the federal and state levels. Congress can demonstrate leadership and  spur the development and deployment of highly automated vehicle technologies by setting clear running rules and removing impediments to testing and deployment.

Let’s make sure that the United States remains the leader in automated vehicles technologies. We must continue the conversation in order to help build a safer, smarter, more efficient, and sustainable transportation future.