US President Barack Obama has unveiled a 10 year investment programme worth nearly $4bn (£2.7bn) to accelerate the development and adoption of driverless cars.
Announcing Obama’s plans, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said his department will take the next six months to draft comprehensive rules governing how autonomous cars should be tested and regulated.
Foxx said the US Department of Transportation will remove potential ‘roadblocks’ to the implementation and testing of autonomous vehicles on roads in the US.
He was speaking at the American International Auto Show in Detroit where he was joined by major players in the automotive and driverless industries including Ford, Google, Delphi and others.
“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,” he 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.”
Obama’s 2017 budget proposals will provide nearly $4bn over 10 years for pilot programs to test connected vehicle systems in designated corridors throughout the country.
He also set out plans to work with industry leaders to ensure a common multistate framework for connected and autonomous vehicles.
Within six months, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to come up with comprehensive guidelines for the new technology.
This is set to include guidance on safety, including a common understanding of the performance needed for fully autonomous vehicles, as well as the testing and analysis methods needed to assess them.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance recently announced that 10 vehicles with the new technology will be launched in the next four years, with the first models arriving this year.