Obama Proposes $4 Billion Budget For Self-Driving Cars - InformationWeek

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Obama Proposes $4 Billion Budget For Self-Driving Cars

In a move to accelerate the use of driverless cars on US highways, President Obama proposed a $4 billion budget for testing these vehicles in pilot programs over the next decade.

Google, Tesla, Nissan: 6 Self-Driving Vehicles Cruising Our Way
Google, Tesla, Nissan: 6 Self-Driving Vehicles Cruising Our Way
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

President Obama proposed Thursday a $4 billion budget to accelerate pilot program testing of self-driving vehicles over the next decade, in a move to spur acceptance of these vehicles on the nation's highways.

Under the proposal, Obama is aiming to bring federal regulators, state government officials, and car manufacturers together to craft a national policy that could fast-track the arrival of driverless cars on the nation's roads, according to a Washington Post report.

Because each state has its own set of driving regulations, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in conjunction with state government officials and car manufacturers, would aim to create templates for possible regulations and laws that ultimately each state could consider adopting, The Post notes.

(Image: Google)

(Image: Google)

Over the next six months regulators are hoping to issue guidance on the preferred testing methods and performance expectations, according to a Wall Street Journal report.  

The NHTSA is also anticipated to exempt automakers from having to follow US regulations on 2,500 driverless cars for up to two years, provided the vehicles are found to offer significant safety benefits, according to The Journal.

"Automated vehicles open up opportunities for saving time, saving lives and saving fuel," US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx's stated in the Journal. "We are bullish on automated vehicles."

[Read Google Details Self-Driving Cars Problems in DMV Report.]

Automakers have previously complained that the absence of clear regulatory guidance has prevented the industry and consumers from pushing forward with driverless cars in a big way. For example, if an accident occurs, which entity is liable? Is it the driverless car, the person sitting in the driver's seat, or the carmaker?

Alphabet's Google has been a pioneer in developing driverless cars, while major automakers General Motors, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Ford either have a self-driving automobile in the development stage or have plans to jump in to the emerging sector. Over the weekend Tesla Motors issued a software update to curb some of its vehicles' self-driving capabilities after its CEO expressed dismay over the way some drivers take reckless chances.

While a number of cars already have features that border the realization of a self-driving vehicle, like cruise control, automatic braking, and assistance to remain in a lane and when backing up, no one's seen how consumers will respond en masse to the ability to sit in the driver's seat without keeping their hands on the wheel.

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

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Technocrati
50%
50%
Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
1/20/2016 | 11:43:12 PM
Re: Is that billion with a "B"

@NJMike  Agreed.  I would just be happy to get an electric car, much less a driverless one.

This money could be better spent - how aboout roads and infrastructure repair for the cars we have now ?  

Maybe even help the homeless.

Broadway0474
50%
50%
Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
1/20/2016 | 10:21:23 PM
Re: Is that billion with a "B"
Pedro, the more I think about driver-less cars, the more I want one --- just from the standpoint of saved effort. It's the best of both worlds of public transit and personal autos --- you are free to come and go as you please, without having to wait for (always late) public transit, while having all of your mind freed up to do work, rest, read, whatever. Once they take care of this issue with drivered cars on the same road, what other objections to driverless cars are there from a user's standpoint?
PedroGonzales
50%
50%
PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
1/19/2016 | 6:52:46 PM
Re: Is that billion with a "B"
@ Broadway.  I agree. I think an incremental approach will be better because it will allow car manufactures and the government to determine and to learn from them.  Also, they can how these cars are responding to the real world.  I wouldn't want for driverless cars to end up the way of electric cars. Sure it is a cool car and it makes you feel good about the environment, but with gas prices being so low people aren't lined up to get such cars.  Would anybody here be interested in purchasing a driverless car if it was made available, any reasons?
Broadway0474
50%
50%
Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
1/18/2016 | 12:21:39 AM
Re: Is that billion with a "B"
@daniel, I am beginning to wonder if for the sake of initial progress, the proponents of self-driving cars should ease them onto the roadways by NOT initially mixing them with people-driving cars. Maybe turn HOV lanes on highways into self-driving car only lanes? Only allow them on residential 25-mph roads elsewhere? What do you think of this incremental approach? Perhaps slightly impractical, but far less dangerous.
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
1/16/2016 | 4:18:47 PM
Re: Is that billion with a "B"
These are really interesting developments for the driverless car industry. While the technology has a ton of promise, my major concern is going to be the mixing of drivers and driverless vehicles. I expect there to be a number of problems in this road environment, specifically dealing with how drivers will react unpredictably versus the technology itself. 
moonwatcher
50%
50%
moonwatcher,
User Rank: Ninja
1/16/2016 | 9:27:50 AM
$4 Billion US tax dollars for driverless cars
What stupidity! Let freaking Google and Amazon do it on their own if they think people actually WANT such vehicles or they would be economically viable. 

Do you really want to give up control of your car to the government? Do you really want to make it possible for them to kill whoever they want, anytime they want, and call it an accident? 

What about hackers, both foreign and domestic?  There is no legitimate reason for every freaking thing to be connected 24/7/365 to some database for control, monitoring or nefarious purposes.

As far as I can tell, the public isn't clamoring for driverless cars, it is being pushed by those who would want to control us and promote socialism at the same time (they want a model of no one owning cars anymore but rather renting them on the fly). Why spend a single dime of tax money on such a thing?  Let the free market work to either show such things up as being dumb ideas, or if embraced by a paying public, to become reality. 
NJ Mike
100%
0%
NJ Mike,
User Rank: Moderator
1/15/2016 | 3:20:27 PM
Is that billion with a "B"
I hope our Congress has the intelligence to ignore this proposal and let it just go away.  Let private industry, those who will profit from this technology, foot the bill.  This is a serious chunk of change and we have better uses for it. 

I just don't like the idea of driverless cars, as many of us have seen how bugs in code can be tough to uncover and fix.  It is one thing when an application on your computer crashes, nobody gets hurt (unless you put your fist through the monitor).  If I'm going to be driving around in a vehicle at speeds of anywhere from 25 to 65 mph, I want it controled by a human, and same thing for all the other vehicles around it.
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