Government Proposes $3.9 Billion for Autonomous Cars

Foley & Lardner LLP

You get a billion! You get a billion! You get a billion! And, you get a billion! The Federal Government went full Oprah on everyone at the North American International Auto Show recently, throwing around a few billion dollars for autonomous cars.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx made the announcement of this 10-year investment. The Department of Transportation detailed that the investment is intended “to accelerate the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation through real-world pilot projects.” Specifically, the government is looking for programs “to test connected vehicle systems in designated corridors throughout the country.” At the same time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued Policy Statement updates concerning its Statement of Policy Concerning Automated Vehicles (look for a future blog post soon on these!).

This is almost certainly good news for consumers. With each state moving forward in various ways at various times with respect to autonomous vehicles, consumers could be looking at a regulatory framework that varies greatly state to state. If I can take my autonomous vehicle through Michigan, what if I cross the state line to Indiana or Ohio? Will the infrastructure be there? Autonomous cars are coming – it is a matter of when, not if. So, when they come, we will all be better off if they are safe, efficient, and work the same in Alabama as they do in Utah (and everywhere else).

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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