Google, Ford, and Delphi joined Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx at the Detroit Auto Show to annnounce a $4 billion governement budget for automated vehicle research and development in 2017. The money will go to pilot programs across the country getting more autonomous cars on the roads faster to speed up development.
The plan allows “rule interpretation requests” from manufacturers to account for new developments that don’t fit within existing laws. This lets NHTSA adjust laws more quickly rather than having outdated laws sit and prohibit new and better technology. A total of 2,500 fully autonomous vehicles will be allowed on the road for up to two years through the plan.
According to Gizmodo, despite all this federal action, Foxx says that states will still have control over the policies on their roads. It’s all a huge step forward in getting autonomous cars tested and approved for the public. Typically, regulators and Congress are very slow to respond to things (unless cars are blowing up), and so creating fast lanes for new regulations and development are a key way for regulators to keep up with the pace of development without it getting out of their control.