The US Department of Transport has announced that it will allocate a substantial budget into the research and development of autonomous vehicles over a decade.
The news was confirmed by the department's secretary Anthony Foxx at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show and will involve $4 billion in investments over the the decade following 2017.
Foxx said that the money will “fund pilot projects that help accelerate the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation through real-world pilot projects.”
The investment will be focused on practical and genuine developments in the field with fully autonomous vehicles, not semi-autonomous cars, the main focus of the government. More specifically, it is hoped that "level 4", that is cars which have complete control with or without a driver on-board, can be operational.
Beyond the money itself, the plan will set out to form a unified set of safety rules relating to autonomous cars across the United States. Individual states will still be able to implement their own policies and it is hoped that more will join the likes of California, Nevada and Michigan in permitting the use of autonomous cars on public roads.