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Congress wants the self-driving car industry’s help to draft a new AV bill

Congress wants the self-driving car industry’s help to draft a new AV bill


It wants everyone’s help this time around

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Congress is calling on stakeholders in the self-driving car industry to help reignite their efforts to draft a bill aimed at speeding up the adoption of autonomous vehicles and deploying a regulatory framework, according to a new letter obtained by The Verge.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee are pairing up to draft a bipartisan, bicameral “self-driving car bill,” according to the letter. The letter prompts stakeholders to file feedback on a variety of issues involving autonomous vehicles, including cybersecurity, privacy, disability access, and testing expansion to the committees.

“The objective of this request is to be as inclusive as possible,” the letter says. It’s not clear how many groups received the request for feedback, but lawmakers said that they were engaging with both the automotive industry and safety groups.

“Right now various countries are exploring regulations that will shape the future of autonomous vehicles, and the U.S. risks losing its leadership in this life-saving, life-changing technology, so we urge Congress to move forward now, this year,” a spokesperson for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said following the announcement.

Last year, the House passed the SELF DRIVE Act, but the complementary bill in the Senate, the AV START Act, failed to pass. Senate Democrats refused to support the measure due to the lack of safety protections. The two committees hope to build on what they accomplished in both bills, but since Democrats hold control of the House this time around, additional safety and cybersecurity language is likely to be included.

“We are at a critical moment in the development of self-driving technology,” Republican E&C leaders wrote earlier this spring, requesting the committee take up AV legislation again this session. “We have the opportunity to support life-saving technology, create mobility benefits for many communities, and support U.S. jobs and innovation against growing foreign competition.”