New Vehicle Technologies

Washington Post hosts event Transformers: Cities

Recently the Washington Post held an event entitled, “Transformers: Cities” which included three panels discussing how technology is impacting urbanization and how tech innovators and policymakers are utilizing data and advanced technology to bring America’s cities into the future.

The first panel entitled, “Smart Cities: The Future of Urban Development” included speakers Andrew Altman, Principal at Fivesquares Development, and Kimberly Nelson, Executive Director of State and Local Government Solutions at Microsoft. Altman discussed that there are two massive trends happening right now, and that is increased urbanization in conjunction with technological change. Altman highlighted that it is important that cities are able to use data and create platforms to help address complicated issues facing urban communities. Nelson echoed similar sentiments stating that it’s important that data driven, collaborative environments are created so that city programs can share the info they need to make the right decision and that’s where private companies can work with state and local governments and leaders.

The second panel entitled, “Innovations in Mobility” included speakers Tim Bean, CEO at Fortem Technologies, Ian Rainey, Senior Vice President at Northeast Maglev, and Stephen Taylor, Regional Director at Lyft. Conquering three different transportation industries in this panel, there was a lively discussion on digitizing the sky, highspeed rail projects, and environmental and safety impacts, and ridesharing.

The third panel entitled, “The Transformative Power of 5G” included speakers Geoffrey Starks, Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, and John Godfrey, Senior Vice President of Public Policy at Samsung. Both Starks and Godfrey emphasized the importance of having 5G. Not only will opening up the 5.9G band for traffic safety and vehicles to everything (V2X) technology increase safety for drivers and pedestrians, Godfrey explained how 5G will transform the phone experience. Starks also touched on how national security plays a role and bridging the rural divide. 5G networks will be able to operate faster in real time, in turn connecting more American’s to broadband.

To view the whole program, click here.

U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce holds Hearing on Summer Driving Dangers and Vehicle Technologies

The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce convened a hearing entitled, “Summer Driving Dangers: Exploring Ways to Protect Drivers and Their Families.” In her opening statement, Chairwoman Schakowsky (D-IL) stated that the Subcommittee seeks to explore safety technologies to be put in vehicles to further reduce human error and prevent fatalities, as well as announcing the reintroduction of the HOT CARS Act, with Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Congressman Pete King (R-NY).

The HOT CARS Act was initially introduced last Congress and died in the U.S. House Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection. The legislation would “direct the Department of Transportation to issue a rule to require that all new passenger motor vehicles…be equipped with a system for rear seating positions to alert (by an auditory and visual alert that may be combined with a haptic alert) the motor vehicle operator to check rear designated seating positions after the vehicle motor is deactivated.”

Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH), stated that 94% of vehicular accidents are due to human error and distraction. In a memorandum to the subcommittee, it is noted that “heatstroke is one of the leading causes of non-crash related fatalities…the number of deaths [due to heatstroke] peaked last year to 52”. Legislation such as the HOT CARS Act, and the deployment of autonomous vehicles, seeks to further eliminate human error and utilize advanced driving assistance technologies to increase the safety of vehicles and the motoring public.

Witnesses:

  • Janette Fennell, President and Founder, KidsAndCars.org
  • Miles Harrison, Father of Chase Harrison
  • Jason Levine, Executive Director, Center for Auto Safety
  • Gary Shapiro, President and CEO, Consumer Technology Association

To view the hearing in its entirety, click here.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Proposes Research on Driver Interactions with ADAS Technologies

Motor vehicle technology is becoming more sophisticated, and it is common to see vehicles that include advanced driver assistant technologies. These technologies include cruise control, lane keeping assistance, automatic emergency brakes, etc. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) believes that these technologies “have the potential to dramatically reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and associated economic costs” that can be related with human error while driving. The implementation of these technologies in vehicles is highly dependent on the driver understanding the functions of the systems.

NHTSA has proposed to research drivers’ interactions with certain advanced driver assistance technologies. As part of the research, NHTSA is collecting information from the public to learn about drivers use and interactions with this technology, as well as an on-road driving experiment in which participants, those with and without experience using driver assistance systems, will engage driver assistance technologies.

 

To view the entire notice and instructions on submitting comments, click here.

Electric Vehicle Tax Credit Causes Quarrel in Congress

The Internal Revenue Code Section 30D establishes an electric vehicle (EV) tax credit as an incentive for consumers to buy and own qualified electric vehicles. The claimed credit can be up to $7,500 and is based on the EV’s car battery size. However, these EV tax credits will eventually run out. The federal government is looking at phasing out these tax credits and while there is no set expiration date, that process has already started. Once a manufacturer sells 200,000 qualified EV’s in the United States, the amount a consumer is eligible for receiving decreases. Tesla was the first automaker to hit the 200,000 threshold in July 2018. Due to hitting the mark, consumers that buy Tesla EV’s after December 31, 2019 will not be eligible for a federal EV tax credit.

The debate surrounding this EV tax credit has found itself on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress. In the U.S. Senate, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Gary Peter (D-MI), Susan Collins (R-ME), and U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI), introduced S. 1094, the Driving America Forward Act. This bipartisan legislation seeks to raise the 200,000 vehicles’ cap to 400,000 vehicles per manufacturer. The legislation also extends the hydrogen fuel cell credit for ten years. Sponsors of the bill argue that this will be a step forward in cleaner transportation, combatting climate change, and support American job growth. In the U.S. House of Representatives, democrats are urging for increasing the 200,000-vehicle cap as well. Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA), introduced H.R. 2096, with the purpose of amending “the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax credits for energy storage technologies, and for other purposes.” While this bill addresses numerous clean energy pushes, the bill also encourages revision and continuation of the EV federal tax credit.

Opposition to the bill in both chambers can be seen from Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and, in the House, Congressman Jason Smith (R-MO). These two Members have introduced similar versions of the same bill that seeks to eliminate the EV federal tax credit and impose a federal highway user fee on alternative fuel vehicles. Senator Barrasso believes that with the termination of this tax credit, there will be billions in taxpayers funds saved and will “strengthen the Highway Trust Fund by ensuring that alternative fuel vehicle drivers pay into it.” Similarly, Congressman Jason Smith (R-MO) believes that “the EV federal tax credit has benefited the wealthy… [and that it’s] time to end this wasteful subsidy.”

As of now, numerous organizations and automakers support the Driving America Forward Act and believe that this legislation and the continuation of the federal EV tax credit will not only benefit the environment in an effort to reduce the total output of CO2 emissions, but also remain an incentive for consumers to purchase EV’s in the future.

U.S. House Transportation Committee Holds Hearing on Highway Safety

This morning the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Highways and Transit held a hearing titled, “Every Life Counts: Improving the Safety of our Nation’s Roadways.” In a press release, Chairwoman Holmes-Norton (D-DC) states the purpose of the hearing is to “look to modernize traffic flows and infrastructure, [as] we must confront the chronic federal underinvestment that has left our roads more dangerous to pedestrians and drivers alike.” In 2017, it was recorded that there were over 37,000 deaths on roadways. Witness testimonies touch on numerous ways to improve road safety such as increasing funding, decreasing the BAC limit, developing complete streets policies and practices, and updating the Highway Safety Improvement Program.

Witnesses:

  • The Honorable Jennifer Homendy, Member, National Transportation Safety Board
  • The Honorable Fred Jones, Vice Mayor, City of Neptune Beach, Florida on behalf of Transportation for America
  • Michael L. Brown, Chief of Police, City of Alexandria
  • Jay Bruemmer, Vice President, K & G Striping, Inc. on behalf of the American Traffic Safety Services Association
  • Mike Sewell, Active Transportation Service Line Leader, Gresham Smith on behalf of The League of American Bicyclists
  • Nicholas Smith, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, The National Safety Council

To view the subcommittee hearing in its entirety, click here.

U.S. House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce Held a Hearing on Vehicle Technology and Drunk Driving

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce held a hearing on “Enhancing Vehicle Technology to Prevent Drunk Driving.” In her opening statement, Chairwoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) stated, “we have addressed a number of auto safety issues over the years…[but] we have not really addressed the number one cause of death on America’s roadways – drunk driving.” Committee members discussed ignition interlock devices and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) research with the auto industry of new alcohol-detection technology.

Witnesses:

  • The Hon. Joan Claybrook, Board Member, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
  • Helen Witty, National President, Mothers Against Drunk Driving
  • David Kelly, Executive Director, Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers
  • Robert Strassburger, President & CEO, Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety, Inc.

To view the hearing in its entirety, click here.

House Republicans Send Letter to Energy and Commerce Committee (HECC) in Support of AV Legislation

This week U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Rep. Robert Latta (R-OH) sent House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. a letter requesting once again that the Committee take up self-driving vehicle legislation. Last Congress, the Committee put together a bipartisan bill, the SELF DRIVE Act, that passed in the House but, ultimately, failed to be considered on the Senate floor. The letter outlines the positive impact self-driving legislation would have to the American public including the potential to save lives, increase mobility for those without easy access to public transportation and maintaining international competitiveness.

To read the full letter sent to Chairman Pallone, click here.

Visit Your State's Website