Obama makes last big push for driverless car tech

When it comes to support, it’s hard to get more solid backing than the President of the United States, but that’s exactly what’s happened for driverless technology. In an opinion piece with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, President Obama put forward a new roadmap for autonomous cars, and it looks like he’s determined to make them a reality.

Obama makes last big push for driverless car tech

In the article, President Obama claims that there are several reasons to support autonomous cars, from safety to the creation of jobs. For example Obama says, “Too many people die on our roads – 35,200 last year alone – with 94 percent of those the result of human error or choice. Automated vehicles have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives each year.”

Safer, more accessible driving. Less congested, less polluted roads. That’s what harnessing technology for good can look like. But we have to get it right. Americans deserve to know they’ll be safe today even as we develop and deploy the technologies of tomorrow.”ford_autonomous_car_night_driving

How will it work?

Autonomous cars might sound like a futuristic pipedream, but the reality is far more mundane. Car makers already have already developed all they need to make a driverless car, but to turn a beta system into one that could be rolled out worldwide requires terabytes and miles worth of testing and data collection. Simply put, car manufacturers need time to fine tune their driverless systems – and new laws that allow them to do that.

That’s why President Obama is proposing a 15 point plan that will keep driverless technology safe and attractive to the public – but still give carmakers the freedom they need to go out and test their technology. What’s more, these rules will be federal, which means they’ll act like a blanket of basic rules across the US. That’s far better than the current situation, where car makers are having to test their technology in some states – simply because it’s outlawed in others.

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So where is the UK in all this?

It turns out the UK isn’t as behind as you’d think, and our government has actually been pretty innovative when it comes to driverless laws. Earlier this year, the Queen’s speech set out a plan to make it easier to insure driverless cars – and it should be in place by 2020.

At the time, ex-Chancellor George Osborne backed the new legislation, saying: “At a time of great uncertainty in the global economy, Britain must take bold decisions now to ensure it leads the world when it comes to new technologies and infrastructure.

“Driverless cars could represent the most fundamental change to transport since the invention of the internal combustion engine. Naturally we need to ensure safety, and that’s what the trials we are introducing will test. If successful, we could see driverless cars available for sale and on Britain’s roads, boosting UK jobs and productivity.”

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