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A new start for driverless-car legislation

Two House committees are asking for feedback from industry stakeholders to help draft a new bipartisan bill creating a federal regulatory framework for self-driving cars.

After a yearlong regulatory traffic jam, Congress will try one more time to create a bipartisan bill on self-driving cars and is calling for help from industry stakeholders to draft it. 

“The House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation are working on a bipartisan and bicameral basis to develop a self-drivingcar bill,” the panels wrote in a letter sent to stakeholders in late July.   

The committees are asking for feedback to be submitted by Aug. 23, on a variety of issues related to autonomous vehicles such as cybersecurity, privacy of data, and how to update existing standards for automated vehicles. 

It’s not clear how many groups received the request for feedback, but lawmakers said that they were engaging with both the automotive industry and safety groups,” reports.

In late 2017, the House passed the SELF DRIVE Act, but its complementary bill the AV START Act failed in the Senate due to objections over safety and cybersecurity by the Democrats. Both bills would have preempted state laws regulating autonomous vehicles to help wide-scale adoption of them.

“Right now various countries are exploring regulations that will shape the future of autonomous vehicles, and the U.S. risks losing its leadership in this life-saving, life-changing technology, so we urge Congress to move forward now, this year,” a spokesperson for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said.

According to The Verge, a bipartisan contingent in both chambers have held multiple meetings this summer “to see if they can forge a deal” and “in hopes of avoiding last year’s breakdown. ”

“We are also going to deal with autonomous vehicles, the AV START Act, and the way we think about how people and goods are transported around the country,” Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker said during a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in May. “Congress got close on this last year…we will see how far we get this time. There are wrinkles that need to be ironed out, but I think we can get there.”

It will be interesting to watch whether the 116th Congress can actually give the green light to self-driving cars this fall.



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