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Automated Vehicles

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Automated Vehicles

Senator Gary Peters
Congressional Record: 114th Congress
22 September 2016


Mr. PETERS. Mr. President, I rise today to speak about the incredible future of mobility in this country. Earlier this week, the Department of Transportation, or DOT, made history by releasing its official Federal policy for automated vehicles. This marks a major milestone in the effort to bring driverless cars to American roads and to ensure that our country remains the world leader in the next generation of transportation.

DOT's Federal policy contains four key components. The first outlines a 15-point safety assessment for the safe design, development, testing, and deployment of automated vehicles. This is a meaningful first step, the first Federal guidance for automotive manufacturers seeking to develop and deploy these new technologies.

The second component outlines the distinct Federal and State roles for regulation of automated vehicles, moving us toward a uniform national framework for the regulation in this space.

Third, the policy makes a Federal commitment to expedite the safe introduction of automated vehicles into the marketplace. The Department of Transportation will streamline its procedures to be more responsive to consumers and innovative manufacturers alike.

Finally, the policy presents a number of novel considerations that Congress should closely examine. This includes new tools and authorities that the DOT might need in the future as automated vehicle technology advances and we begin to see deployment on a much wider scale.

Last year, over 35,000 lives were lost in motor vehicle crashes. We saw the largest annual percentage rise in deaths on our roads for the past 50 years--50. This is simply unacceptable. Connected and automated vehicle technologies have the potential to drastically reduce this troubling statistic and help ensure that at the end of the day, our children, our parents, and all of our family and friends are able to travel on our roads and make it home safe and sound.

We need to roll up our sleeves and do our part to ensure successful implementation of this policy. Many of our existing laws and regulations were enacted long before modern vehicles. Now is the time to consider updating policies from a time when the most advanced onboard electronics in our cars and trucks were AM radios. We need to do this the right way and ensure that these cars and trucks are introduced safely as we work through the challenges facing wide-scale deployment and the adoption of these absolutely revolutionary technologies. This means we need to take a hard look at issues such as automotive liability, consumer education, data and cyber security, and the future of the American workforce.

As a member of Senate Commerce Committee and as the cofounder of the Smart Transportation Caucus, I am committed to leading these important discussions on Capitol Hill. As a start, I would like to take a moment to highlight some of what I believe are the key aspects of DOT's four- part Federal policy. Safety, of course, is paramount, and the new safety assessment emphasizes consumer education and awareness. Just as prior generations had to adapt to the innovation of stoplights and the construction of interstate highways, Americans in the coming months and years will learn how to operate and share the road with automated vehicles.

To save lives, consumers must trust that the technology underpinning this revolution in transportation is completely safe. It will require public-private cooperation to improve consumer understanding and adoption of these technologies. We also cannot ignore the new threats facing modern vehicles, as they are increasingly connected to each other and to the infrastructure.

It is critical that the 15-point assessment promotes built-in cyber security from the very start of vehicle development lifestyle. I am encouraged that DOT is addressing data recording, data sharing, and data privacy. We need to know how these automated systems work and what happens when they don't. We also need to ensure that this data is shared and protected.

Finally, I support DOT's emphasis on continuing collaborative work among industry, government, academic, and R&D communities to advance automated vehicles. In Michigan, we have already seen the benefits of such collaborative work at the Mcity testing facility in Ann Arbor. Soon, joint advanced research will take place on a much larger scale at the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti, where we will be testing, validating, and certifying the vehicles that will be driving America in the coming years.

I look forward to the continued partnership with DOT to help advance the innovation that is driving the future of mobility, and I want to thank Secretary Foxx and Administrator Rosekind for their focus and hard work that made this week's historic announcement possible.

This guidance demonstrates that America will be the global leader in the development and deployment of advanced vehicle technologies. You know, just 8 years ago, people were predicting the financial ruin of the auto industry here in America. Today, not only have we had the auto industry come roaring back with record sales, but we are now working to produce some of the greatest and most important innovations in American manufacturing history.

(The remarks of Mr. Peters pertaining to the introduction of S. 3381 are printed in today's Record under ``Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions.'')

Mr. PETERS. I suggest the absence of a quorum.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.

Mr. COATS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

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