Donald Trump’s administration supports autonymous driving, but it’s not necessarily going to push it to succeed.
Speaking at Detroit’s AutoMobili-D Expo, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said that they were fully behind the development of driverless cars, but they weren’t “in the business of picking winners or losers.”
In short, they’re going to make sure the pathway is cleared for development of new technologies, but they want to leave things in the hands of local governments when it comes to infastructure
Chao said although the administration supports state approaches to handling the issue, federal officials do not want to see a “patchwork” approach to solving the issues related to development and infrastructure and that they want more inclusive policies that will address rural mobility and transportation needs as well.
“We hear a lot about smart cities,” she said. “But not everyone lives downtown.”
The biggest issue at play is quality of life. Increased access to autonymous cars gives people more freedom when it comes to when and where they can travel, but it also brings in a whole new host of safety concerns.
Chao said the administration’s biggest goal is to lessen the number of automobile crashes that are a result of driver error (approximately 94% of the nearly 40,000 crashed every year).
Even as technology advances though, Chao acknowledged, most of the public is still fairly skeptical when it comes to cars without a driver. Almost 80% of people in a recent study had anxiety about the tech. These fears are “legit public concerns to address,” Chao noted, adding that “Safety is always our No. 1 priority.”
To prove their goal of lessening human-error related crashes, she pointed out three recent government actions.