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NHTSA Opens GM and Nuro Autonomous Vehicle Petition to Public Comment

On March 15, 2019, the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that automated vehicle petitions from Nuro and General Motors (GM) are advancing to the Federal Register for public review and comment. “The Department is actively seeking public comment on proposed exemptions to federal standards and how the public can be protected as new transportation technologies emerge,” said US Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao. Manufacturers must submit a petition to NHTSA to apply for a temporary exemption if a proposed new...
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GOP House Representatives Urge Energy and Commerce Committee to Take Up Self-Driving Legislation

In a letter dated March 13, 2019, representatives Greg Walden (R-OR 2nd District), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA 5th District) and Bob Latta (R-OH 5th District) wrote a letter urging the Energy and Commerce Committee to make self-driving legislation a priority. They highlighted the bill’s potential to save lives, enhance mobility and provide international competitiveness for companies in this space. Read the letter in its entirety.
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What Autonomous Vehicles Could Mean for the Future of Washington, DC

The one thing that’s certain about the autonomous future heralded by executives in Detroit and Silicon Valley is a future that’s either years or decades away, depending on which experts you consult: It will entail more driving. By the year 2040, the nation’s capital could be a bustling network of autonomous vehicles, with better access to jobs on its eastern and western extremities. Traffic would glide smoothly on freeways — the cars automatically keeping a safe distance by “talking” to one another — with no empty seats in the roving fleet of vehicles. The system would complement a healthy...
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Pittsburgh and Autonomous Vehicle Companies Agree to Testing Guidelines

An executive order signed by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Monday outlines objectives and expectations for the safe testing of autonomous vehicles in the city. Companies Aptiv, Argo AI, Aurora Innovation and Uber were all present for the announcement. City officials said Pittsburgh, an autonomous vehicle research hub, is the first municipality to draw up testing guidelines that are this extensive. For example, it directs the city’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) to create policies that ensure communication, increase “transparency and knowledge of the testing occurring on...
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Tesla Promises Full Self-Driving Model 3

Tesla is now taking orders for a Model 3, which includes a full self-driving capability. On March 1, 2019, Tesla announced that “all customers who bought a Tesla before yesterday’s price decrease will be able to buy the Autopilot or Full Self-Driving capability for half of what those features would normally cost after initial purchase.” Experts, on the other hand, say the “full self-driving” feature is really a partial self-driving feature that handles minor driving tasks, such as keeping pace with other cars on a highway, and still requires diligent human oversight. To most autonomous...
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Pedestrian deaths increase in 2018

2/28/2019 A new report, commissioned by the Governors Highway Safety Association, estimates that over 6,000 pedestrians were killed in car accidents in 2018. This is the highest level of pedestrian deaths in the United States since 1990; the number of deaths hit a low in 2009 but has since risen steadily. In many cases, alcohol use is a factor in accidents involving pedestrians. The fatality rate may also be increasing because there are more SUVs on the road, which can cause greater injuries to those outside of the car than a sedan. Experts also raise the possibility that distracted drivers...
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Autonomous Vehicles Bill in 2019? Senator Sees an Opening

Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) indicated that his fellow senators have expressed interest in resuming considerations on legislation that would designate the necessary provisions for infrastructure, as well as safety associated with autonomous vehicles. Thune stated that he is hopeful the legislation could be introduced in the near future, noting the opportunity for bipartisanship with Democrats who control the House. An autonomous vehicles bill in the previous Congress co-sponsored by Thune, who at the time chaired the Commerce Committee, failed to land on President Donald Trump’s...
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Five Autonomous Car Trends Everyone Should Know About In 2019

Every major automobile manufacturer is heavily investing in self-driving technology, and 2018 saw many pilot schemes taken onto highways and city roads. By the end of 2019, we may not all be chauffeured around town by robots as we sit in the back and catch up with our Facebook friends, but we will certainly be significantly closer than we are today. Forbes published five major predictions for autonomous vehicles in 2019, which include: First Level 5 autonomous cars First fully autonomous coast-to-coast trip Autonomous trucking becomes a reality Autonomous ride sharing hits the mainstream...
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Five Takeaways from KPMG’s 2019 Autonomous Vehicle Readiness Index

KPMG recently released its second annual Autonomous Vehicle Readiness Index. The purpose of the document is to assess countries’ preparedness for autonomous vehicles. KPMG ranked a total of 25 countries on four different categories as they pertained to AVs: (1) Policy and Legislation; (2) Technology and Innovation; (3) Infrastructure; and (4) Consumer Acceptance. Here are five takeaways from the report: Netherlands ranks as the country most prepared for autonomous vehicles. The country’s infrastructure and acceptance of AV technology make it particularly likely that the Dutch will accept AVs...
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“AI Farms” Are at the Forefront of China’s Global Ambitions

Yin You doesn’t look like a key strategic asset. He weighs a little over 100 pounds, has auburn dyed hair, and wears a hoodie emblazoned with catchy phrases. But in China’s rise to superpower status, the 20-year-old student is a foot soldier playing a vital role. This Time article details how China is turning to technology to arrest an economic slide. Read the full article.
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Insurtech Grabs $5 Million in Funding For Autonomous Vehicle Coverage

A startup focused on rewarding drivers and fleet owners that use autonomous vehicles and semi-autonomous car safety features has raised $5 million in seed funding. California-based Avinew’s technology uses artificial intelligence and telematics to gather driving data that can tell when a vehicle is in autopilot mode or is using advanced safety features. That data can then be used by insurers to offer coverage that rewards drivers and fleets using these vehicles and features. Read the full...
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Six Used Vehicle Trends to Watch in 2019

Automotive News released its outlook for 2019 and believes that it will closely mirror 2018. Like last year, analysts warn that what has gone up since the Great Recession must surely come down—at least a little. The tepid outlook reflects macroeconomic concerns, such as the government shutdown, rising interest rates and the threat of tariffs—in addition to record-high vehicle prices. Read the full story.
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Waymo to Build Plant in Michigan

On January 22, Waymo announced that the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) voted to approve its effort to establish a manufacturing presence to build self-driving vehicles in the state, creating hundreds of jobs along the way. Waymo develops hardware and software in-house so that its self-driving technology works as a seamless, single system. A vital part of that process is integrating Waymo’s self-driving system into the vehicles purchased for its fleet, including Fiat Chrysler automobiles and the Jaguar Land Rover.
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Russia Begins Testing Autonomous Vehicles

On November 26, 2018, the government of the Russian Federation issued a regulation that permits the testing of driverless cars on regular roads to begin. The new Regulation is the first piece of national legislation that regulates the use of autonomous vehicles. The government will conduct the experimental testing through March 1, 2022, on the roads of two constituent components of the Russian Federation—the capital city of Moscow and the Republic of Tatarstan, a territory located about 500 miles to the east of Moscow. Simultaneously, the government approved the Rules of the Experiment,...
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