Obama administration to pump $4 billion in development of self-driving cars

The US government wants to promote and boost the development of self-driving cars by pumping billions of dollars into the sector.

The Obama administration has proposed spending almost $4 billion on the development of self-driving cars over the next decade, according to a recent announcement by Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx.

Foxx said at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that the administration is “bullish on automated vehicles.”

Safety regulators are keen to see progress in the development of autonomous technology as it could reduce the number of crashes caused by human error, potentially cut greenhouse gas emissions, and curb traffic jams.

“Automated vehicles open up opportunities for saving time, saving lives and saving fuel,” Foxx said during a news conference.


Cohesive regulations in the pipeline

Automakers and tech firms involved in the development of autonomous vehicles have complained (for quite some time now) that state and federal safety rules are preventing proper testing and deployment of self-driving cars.

In response to increasing pressure from the industry, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will exempt certain self-driving cars from existing rules if they offer significant safety benefits.

“We are on the cusp of a new era in automotive technology with enormous potential to save lives, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and transform mobility for the American people,” Foxx said.

“Today’s actions, and those we will pursue in the coming months, will provide the foundation and the path forward for manufacturers, state officials, and consumers to use new technologies and achieve their full safety potential.”

The proposals will allow automakers to have a fleet of 2,500 self-driving cars on the road for up to two years exempt from some proposed safety rules.

The NHTSA also plans on working with state governments and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators over the next six months to create a set of cohesive state regulations for self-driving cars.