A number of companies are working on autonomous vehicles, but automakers have continually noted that one of their biggest hurdles involves government regulation.
Government bureaucracy moves at a snail’s pace and it reportedly took the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 14 months to respond to GM’s request for a temporary exemption of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards in order to test an autonomous Chevrolet Bolt without pedals or a steering wheel. That petition has now advanced to the public comment phase, but it’s a good example of the challenges facing automakers.
While there’s no word on why the process took so long, it appears President Trump isn’t a fan of autonomous vehicles. According to Axios, Trump has privately said autonomous vehicles are “crazy” and he would never let a computer drive him around.
The publication cites four different sources and one of them said Trump has told him autonomous vehicles will “never work.” Another said the President is a “skeptic,” while one claimed Trump has even acted out an accident while saying “Can you imagine, you’re sitting in the back seat and all of a sudden this car is zig-zagging around the corner and you can’t stop the f*cking thing?”
While Trump’s skepticism of autonomous vehicles appears to be shared with a majority of Americans, there are fears his feelings could impact policy. There doesn’t appear to be any evidence of that happening, but the report says “Trump already calls self-driving cars out-of-control death traps, so any news fueling that fear could jolt him into action.”
Regardless of the President’s feelings about the technology, regulatory issues are a huge hurdle for automakers. However, the Department of Transportation is developing a new council which aims to identify and resolve “jurisdictional and regulatory gaps that may impede the deployment of new technology, such as tunneling, hyperloop, autonomous vehicles, and other innovations.”
H/T to The Verge