In the Obama Administration’s latest welfare for Silicon Valley billionaires, the President intends to ask Congress for $4 billion in federal subsidies and nationalization of transportation safety regulations in an effort to speed the deployment of driverless cars.
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, surrounded by about a dozen auto and Silicon Valley tech leaders, announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that the U.S. Department of Transportation Agency intends to remove “potential roadblocks to the integration of innovative, transformational automotive technology that can significantly improve safety, mobility, and sustainability.” These code words mean driverless regulatory design is being turned over to Silicon Valley.
Fox also released a statement that details President Obama’s request for the 2017 budget to steer about $400 million in each of the next 10 years to “test pilot programs to test connected vehicle systems in designated corridors throughout the country, and work with industry leaders to ensure a common multi-state framework for connected and autonomous vehicles.” These code words mean big subsidies flowing to Silicon Valley.
There is nothing new about the concept of self-driving “autonomous vehicle automation.” For decades, robot vehicles have been transporting materials in factories and gigantic Caterpillar 100-ton computer-guided dump trucks have transported ore around mine sites. Closed-loop transportation ecosystems are easy to program and a central controller can usually be positioned in a tower above the worksite to visually maintain control.