Congress looks to get the motors running on self-driving car legislation again.

U-S Representatives held a congressional hearing today (7/26) on how to adopt and regulate vehicles that operate without human intervention safely.

During the hearing titled “Self-Driving Vehicle Legislative Framework: Enhancing Safety, Improving Lives and Mobility, and Beating China”, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris-Rodgers delivered opening remarks.

“Self-driving vehicles have the potential to break down transportation barriers, unleash more opportunities, more freedom, and more independence."

Rep. McMorris Rodgers speaking at Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee hearing
Rep. McMorris Rodgers speaking at Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee hearing

The 5th District Representative from Eastern Washington talked about her oldest son, Cole, who has Down syndrome and his dream of getting a driver's license.

“For Cole and others living with a disability, it’s exciting to imagine the amazing mobility options that self-driving cars will provide." Rep. McMorris-Rodgers added.

And when it comes to studies, research and testing that suggest self-driving cars are safe and reliable, McMorris-Rodgers says she's convinced.

“They have the potential to reduce death and injury on our roads, most of which result from human error and impaired driving."

She also asserts the U-S is at risk of ceding leadership to China and must prevent the country from controlling artificial intelligence and machine learning technology.

“China is currently moving ahead with ambitious plans to lead the development and deployment of this technology," Rep. McMorris-Rodgers said. “We cannot trust the Chinese Communist Party to set the standards for this industry and we certainly cannot trust them to protect our data and individual rights."

Legislation on self-driving vehicle legislation hit a roadblock in 2017 when regulations passed by the U-S house failed in the U-S Senate. Some congressional members warn accelerating research and testing may lead to long-standing issues with safety and liability.

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