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The Obama administration and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced Thursday that the federal government will begin to work on a national policy that will help usher in autonomous vehicles.
“We are bullish on automated vehicles,” Foxx said in a speech at the Detroit Auto Show. “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.”
The plan will see the federal government take an active role in working with private businesses and state legislatures to make it easier for autonomous vehicles to hit the streets. As one might imagine, there is a rather complicated web of legal issues that go into this process.
Foxx said that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will begin working with state law makers to make it easier for companies to test their cars on the road. The NHTSA will also work with auto makers to refine performance metrics and standards for these cars.
According to Foxx, the Obama administration would consider doing anything necessary to get driverless vehicles on the road “in large numbers when demonstrated to provide an equivalent or higher level of safety than is now available.”
Several companies have been testing autonomous vehicles with impressive safety results. Google GOOGL said that in over 400,000 miles of driving, an actual human driver had to take the wheel just 341 times. We know that Mercedes-Benz DDAIF, Tesla TSLA, and Nissan NSANY, among others, have also been on the cutting edge of driverless car tech.
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