U.S. Senate panel approves self-driving car legislation

“A U.S. Senate panel on Wednesday unanimously gave the green light to a bill aimed at speeding the use of self-driving cars without human controls, barring states from imposing regulatory road blocks,” David Shepardson reports for Reuters. “After unanimous approval by the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, the full Senate must take up the bill. The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a similar bill last month.”

“Like the House bill, the Senate version does not include allowing exemptions to speed approval of self-driving technology for large commercial trucks. Despite complaints from some Republicans, the panel opted not to include them after labor unions raised safety and employment concerns,” Shepardson reports. “The measure is the first significant federal legislation addressing self-driving cars. It would allow automakers to win exemptions from safety rules that require cars to have human controls.”

“Senator John Thune, the Republican who chairs the Commerce Committee, said the bill ‘underscores the bipartisan desire to move ahead with self-driving vehicle technology… The safety and economic benefits of self-driving vehicles are too critical to delay,'” Shepardson reports. “Several Republican senators noted the strong support of trucking organizations to include vehicles over 10,000 pounds, but Democrats resisted that part of the proposal. Tesla Inc, Alphabet, Uber Technologies Inc and others have said they are working on self-driving trucks.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Welcome to the future.

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      1. Some years ago, in a tea room in Georgetown, certain Republican strategists drew up a list of devices intended to help reposition the GOP as the majority party — through simple memes planted in the mind of the electorate — in effect, changing the language of political persuasion. There were many such infiltrations, promulgated by linguists like William Safire. Liberal became illiberal, progressive regressive. The Democratic Party was rebranded as the Democrat Party, to underscore that its members were not democratic.

  1. Picture this: Your in your self driving car putting along when the computer is faced with a decision to either, hit a crossing pedestrian, or run into a brick wall. No other way out. What do you think the computer will select? By the way, your locked and strapped in, no way to bail because this car is equipped with this type of safety constraints.

    1. If the A.I. has had proper schooling, it will scan the pedestrian and compare his or her profile with your own. In a split second decision it will decide who lives or dies, meting out justice based on the merits of the two persons and the circumstances of their meeting. If you are a bigger asshole than the pedestrian, you die.

      In this way, automated systems, properly programmed, could do half the work of the judicial system. Of course, the programmers could be biased in any number of ways, but so are judges, jurors, witnesses, and all the rest. At least the robotic system would be more efficient, if not more fair.

    2. Picture this: Your driving your car putting along when you are faced with a decision to either, hit a crossing pedestrian, or run into a brick wall. No other way out. What do you think you will select? By the way, your locked and strapped in, no way to bail.

  2. I really do not think beta testing on the open roads is that great of an idea.

    So when company X’s car or truck hits your car or truck and kills you, who goes to jail for negligent homicide?

    I rather like driving, if you have the right car it is an enjoyable thing. If you have a Crapolet, Crapillac, Crapler, Dodge (sorry RAM), Hyundai or other rolling catastrophe I can see how not driving might appeal to you.

    1. You can bet you last dollar that all companies involved in this are lobbying for special legislation to absolve them of any and all liability or, at the very least, limit their liabilities.

      You can be certain the insurance industry will support anything that will cap their obligations.

  3. The testing is already happening. My wife’s 2016 Chevy Malibu has sensors that keep it in its lane, warn you before you change lanes, and sees around corners. This technology will save FAR more lives than it risks. Also as a 50+ person who is dealing with parents in their 80s (and will hopefully be there myself one day) the freedom for the handicapped and elderly to be able to keep their independence longer through truly autonomous cards (and not be a hazard on the roads) will be a gift from God.

    1. You know who *won’t* be legally hamstrung by ‘autonomous cars’? Police. Government officials. Etc., etc. This was nothing more than a greed move on the part of our government who were clearly bribed (read: ‘lobbied’) by both Silicon Valley and the auto industry to eliminate the actual populace of the country in making a decision. I certainly didn’t have the opportunity to vote on any of this, nor did anyone I know. The fact that it was approved unanimously tells me that any hope of a bi-partisan system is dead in America (a note to protestors: if you can’t see there is only the corporate party in 21st century America, you need your head checked). We have all been fed a gigantic lie, and they know full well who they are manipulating. This is the biggest load of bunk foisted upon us collectively in recent memory.

  4. Parties? Lol, that’s a good one. CEOs, lobbyists, and bribes form the foundation for our political system in the States. Not a single one of we citizens were included in this decision. Not one. Watch the show ‘Continuum’. Minus the time travel, that is pretty much where we are at.

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