The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to allow for further research and development of autonomous vehicles. The SELF DRIVE bill passed last week.
“It greatly expands the amount of vehicles that any individual automaker can produce and test annually,” said University of Kansas researcher Bradley Lane. “It goes from being a few thousand to a hundred thousand. What that means is that provides enough of a critical mass to incentivize companies to really invest in the technology, to build enough of these things, knowing that they are going to eventually sell them.”
Even with more innovation possibly on the way if this bill makes it all the way to President Trump’s desk, that still doesn’t mean we’ll all just be riding right away.
“The Jetsons style image that a lot of people have of a fully autonomous vehicle, where you’ll go in a car, you’ll push a button and you won’t do anything until you arrive at your destination, that is a really long way off, if ever,” Lane said. “Any autonomous vehicle, even a fully autonomous vehicle, is going to have to have some user interaction with it at some point in the journey for the foreseeable future.”
Nevertheless, Lane sees this bill going forward, soon.
“It was passed with nearly unanimous support in the House,” said Lane. “This is a pretty divisive and partisan climate right now, but this is something that, you can tell it is not a reactionary policy. It’s actually something we’ve seen very infrequently in that it’s more of a proactive policy, trying to allow these companies and this technology the space and the ability to develop this technology to eventually deploy it.”
Companies that participate will need to secure permits before they can put their self-driving cars on the road.
Photo courtesy: University of Kansas