Will autonomous cars make America great again? These five companies seem to think so.
On Tuesday, April 26th, auto and tech giants Google, Ford, Volvo, Uber and Lyft announced the creation of the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, a lobbying group that will work with both policy makers and the public to promote autonomous driving technology.
David Strickland, former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), will head the coalition, serving as its counsel and spokesperson. (In other words, he will be lobbying his former agency. The Department of Transportation has already tasked it to come up with a set of rules for self-driving cars for states and companies this summer).
The NHTSA will convene the second of two public hearings on autonomous vehicles this week at Silicon Valley’s Stanford University.
“Self-driving vehicle technology will make America’s roadways safer and less congested," Strickland said in a press statement. "The best path for this innovation is to have one clear set of federal standards, and the Coalition will work with policymakers to find the right solutions that will facilitate the deployment of self-driving vehicles.”
Google has been at the forefront of the movement to develop self-driving technology and is currently testing its autonomous Lexus SUVs in four U.S. cities. Meanwhile, all in the name of safety, Ford is testing its technology in Michigan, while Volvo plans to test 100 autonomous vehicles in China.
Uber and Lyft, for their part, are more interested in developing their own fleet of self-driving cars, which would eliminate the logistical (not to mention financial) headaches created by human drivers. To that end, Uber plans to build its own self-driving research facility in Pittsburgh, while Lyft recently teamed up with General Motors to develop its own fleet.