U.S. House Paves the Way for Driverless Vehicles by passing the SELF DRIVE Act


A few weeks ago, we looked at a Wired magazine article on “the future of cars: perfidious greed
 
The Center for Data Innovation today commended the House of Representatives for unanimously passing the bipartisan ‘‘Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research In Vehicle Evolution” (SELF DRIVE) Act. The Center issued the following statement from Director Daniel Castro:

By passing the SELF DRIVE Act, the House of Representatives is paving the way for more widespread use of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles in the years ahead. 

 
First, the SELF DRIVE Act prohibits states from implementing their own rules governing the design or performance of highly autonomous vehicles. A patchwork of 50 different standards for highly autonomous vehicles would be an enormous regulatory obstacle for automakers and slow the pace of innovation. This bill rightfully prevents states from this sort of action, while still leaving states free to enforce their own rules about safety and emissions inspections, traffic laws, insurance, and other transportation issues traditionally handled by states. 

Second, the SELF DRIVE Act allows automakers to eventually deploy up to 100,000 self-driving cars per year with exemptions from existing automobile safety standards. This is an appropriate balance between safety and innovation. Today’s standards were designed for cars that humans drive, but do not always make sense for vehicles driven by a computer. These exemptions will make it easier for automakers to test more advanced features for highly autonomous vehicles as the technology improves and gather more data about how these vehicles perform in the real world. 

Third, the bill also strikes the right balance on privacy and cybersecurity. It requires automakers to develop privacy plans and security policies explaining how they collect, use, and protect data, and it does not impose any restrictions anonymized data which poses no risk to consumer privacy.  

The sooner the United States has widespread deployment of highly autonomous vehicles, the sooner it can reap its enormous potential benefits to public safety and the economy. The Senate should follow the House of Representatives’ lead and pass the SELF DRIVE Act to secure these benefits as quickly as possible.

 
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The Center for Data Innovation is the leading global think tank studying the intersection of data, technology, and public policy. With staff in Washington, DC, and Brussels, the Center formulates and promotes pragmatic public policies designed to maximize the benefits of data-driven innovation in the public and private sectors. It educates policymakers and the public about the opportunities and challenges associated with data, as well as technology trends such as predictive analytics, open data, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things. The Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute proudly affiliated with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. For more about the Center, visit datainnovation.org.

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