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House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Autonomous Vehicles

Committee Staff Releases DRAFT AV Bill

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce held a hearing entitled, “Autonomous Vehicles: Promises and Challenges of Evolving Automotive Technologies.” In opening statements, Members of the Committee expressed similar sentiments regarding their support and the need for autonomous vehicle legislation touting that it will ensure American leadership in innovation, the need for a framework to deploy emerging vehicle technology in a safe and responsible way to improve roadway conditions and reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities. Subcommittee Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA) stated that this legislation “will be transformative and knock down mobility barriers.” Among the groups testifying in front of the subcommittee today was the National Federation of the Blind, reiterating that a future with autonomous vehicles will increase opportunities to find work and travel for those with disabilities.

Last year the same committee passed the SELF DRIVE Act of 2019, which passed out of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce unanimously. The legislation died in the Senate after the American Association of Justice (AAJ) voiced concerns over forced arbitration. In his opening statement, Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) targeted AAJ inferring that this legislation will require a comprise. Despite AAJ’s confliction with the bill, all witnesses stated that they believed that autonomous vehicles hold the promise to save lives. Witnesses Gary Shapiro, President and CEO at Consumer Technology Association, and Jeff Tumlin, Director of Transportation at San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, further emphasized the  urgency to pass this legislation; both Shapiro and Tumlin testified that “we lack a national goal” when it comes to autonomous vehicles and that “with the global race to autonomous vehicles, we have the technology and the fundamental infrastructure here” but without guidance from Congress, we are allowing other nations to become the leaders.

Witnesses:

  • Cathy Chase
    President
    Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
  • John Bozzella
    President and CEO
    Alliance for Automotive Innovation

 

  • Daniel Hinkle
    State Affairs Counsel
    American Association of Justice

 

  • Mark Riccobono
    President
    National Federation of the Blind

 

  • Gary Shapiro
    President and CEO
    Consumer Technology Association

 

  • Jeff Tumlin
    Director of Transportation
    San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)

To view the hearing in its entirety, click here.

ASA Signs On Comments for U.S. House AV Hearing

The Automotive Service Association (ASA) signed on to the Coalition for Future Mobility and the U.S. Vehicle Data Access Coalition’s letters that were submitted to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce in response to a hearing convened today entitled, “Autonomous Vehicles: Promises and Challenges of Evolving Automotive Technologies.”

Click here to read the Coalition for Future Mobility Letter.

 

Click here to read the U.S. Vehicle Data Access Coalition Letter.

 

White House 2021 Budget Proposal Includes Increase for Career and Technical Education Programs

This week the White House unveiled its 2021 fiscal year budget proposal. The $4.8 trillion proposal included a $900 million increase in funding for career and technical education (CTE) programs. U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos stated that “we’re asking for new resources for career and technical education to ensure every student in America has access to skills training to help them prepare for successful careers.”

Additionally, the proposal:

  • Supports the Administration’s goal of ensuring every high school student in America has access to CTE programs that provide multiple, high-quality pathways to success after graduation
  • Includes $2 billion, an increase of $680 million, for CTE State Grants to support high-quality CTE programs in high school and postsecondary institutions and $90 million, an increase of $83 million, for CTE National Programs to support high-quality CTE programs in STEM, including computer science
  • Renews the President’s proposal to double the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act fee for the H-1B visa program which could generate an estimated $117 million in additional funding for the CTE State Grants program

The Automotive Service Association (ASA) provides multiple resources and educational opportunities for its members. CTE programs have helped students nationwide successfully pursue opportunities directly after high school or following a postsecondary education.

To view the press release from the U.S. Department of Education, click here.

U.S. DOT Requests Comments on AV Guidelines

The White House and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) unveiled ‘Ensuring American Leadership in Automated Vehicle Technologies: Automated Vehicles 4.0’. The guidelines were announced in January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV.

This week the U.S. Department of Transportation and the White House Office of Technology Policy (OSTP) released in the Federal Register a notice requesting comments from the public on the guidelines.

To read the full notice in the Federal Register and submit a comment, click here.

Center for Auto Safety Drops Technical Service Bulletins Case Against DOT

In 2016, The Center for Auto Safety filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for failing to publish manufacturer communications and accompanying indices as required by law. This month, the Center dropped its lawsuit against the DOT after the DOT made thousands of manufacturer communications online. The Center believes that these “repair instructions service bulletins have saved lives over the years.” Additionally, the Center noted that the DOT published a note on their website mentioning that not all manufacturers have provided all communications, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will continue to update its website when those are received.

To view the press release, click here.

For more information from the NHTSA, click here.

U.S. DOT Secretary Announces Proposals to Improve Transportation Safety

Yesterday at the Annual Transportation Research Board Meeting, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao announced three proposals aimed at improving safety on our roadways. Chao announced the next phase of the “Partnership for Analytics Research in Traffic Safety (PARTS) program.” The program will “expand participation in the PARTS program to include almost 70% of the U.S. automobile market and will collect data on additional advanced driver-assisted systems (ADAS).” Secretary Chao also announced an initiative to standardize ADAS terminology amongst manufacturers.

To view the DOT press release, click here.

U.S. House Committee Advances Electric Vehicle Bill

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy advanced H.R. 5545, the New Opportunities to Expand Healthy Air Using Sustainable Transportation (NO EXHAUST) Act of 2020. The legislation was introduced by Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) two days ago. The bill would authorize:

  • $2 billion per year from fiscal year 2021 through 2030 for the grants to state and local governments and private entities for electric vehicle deployment;
  • $2.5 billion per year over the same period for large-scale projects to electrify the transportation sector; and
  • $2.5 billion per year over the same period to accelerate the domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles.

This was one of the nine bills that advanced through the subcommittee relating to energy efficiency.

To view the bill, click here.

To view Congressman Rush’s press release, click here.

U.S. DOT Announces New Autonomous Vehicle Guidelines

The White House and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) unveiled ‘Ensuring American Leadership in Automated Vehicle Technologies: Automated Vehicles 4.0’. The guidelines were announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV this week.

AV 4.0 is the third set of autonomous vehicle guidance the DOT has released. AV 4.0 has three core areas of focus: prioritizing safety and security, promote innovation, and ensure a consistent regulatory approach. The guidelines build upon the previously released ‘Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0’ and ‘Automated Driving Systems: A Vision for Safety 2.0’.

To view the U.S. DOT’s press release, click here.

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