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House Republicans expected to reveal self-driving legislation soon

July 14, 2017 0 Comments

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U.S. House Republicans are expected to introduce bills later this week barring states from “setting their own rules for self-driving cars,” as well as taking other steps to clear away obstacles to getting autonomous vehicles on the road, according to a spokeswoman.

This action comes as major automakers join forces with auto suppliers and other groups in an effort to “prod Congress into action.”

In June, a U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce subcommittee held a hearing on the Republican draft package, containing 14 bills allowing U.S. regulators to excuse up to 100,000 vehicles a year “per manufacturer from federal motor vehicle safety rules that prevent the sale of self-driving vehicles without human controls.”

The draft measures would keep states from setting their own rules for self-driving vehicles, and would prevent the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from “preapproving self-driving car technologies.”

Democrats said that the NHTSA should have a more aggressive role in “mandating” self-driving vehicle safety.

Committee spokeswoman Blair Ellis said Monday that it was “likely that legislation would be introduced this week” with a formal hearing sometime next week.

Republican U.S. Representative Robert Latta said in June that he hoped to win the committee’s approval of a bipartisan legislative package by the end of this month.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (which represents General Motors, Volkswagen AG, Toyota Motor Corp., and others) and the Association of Global Automakers (representing major foreign automakers Honda Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Corp.) are getting together to form the Coalition for Future Mobility in order to “press Congress to act.”

The coalition, including “the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, National Federation of the Blind and Securing America’s Future Energy,” plans on airing radio ads beginning on Tuesday that describe the legislation as “liberating innovation for self-driving vehicles.”

Alphabet Inc., Tesla Inc., and General Motors have been lobbying to “preempt rules under consideration in California” – where both Alphabet and Tesla are headquartered – “and other states that could limit self-driving deployment.”

Voluntary guidelines for self-driving vehicles were designated last year under former President Barack Obama’s administration. Elaine Chao, President Donald Trump’s transportation secretary, has said she plans to “quickly update those.”

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