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Is it all falling apart for US self-driving ambitions?

Self-driving car flat modern illustration

Considering it is home to some of the worlds’ leading technology companies, many would assume the US would lead the self-driving race, but reports claim a staggering path which is more suited to a walk home on Friday night.

According to Recode, the Federal Committee on Automation, an advisory board which is supposed to be fronting the self-driving ambitions of the country, has fallen almost entirely inactive. Some might say this is a disgruntled individual just trying to cause a bit of friction for the sake of it, but Recode claim to have four sources saying the same thing. It doesn’t look good.

This is group which is supposed to accelerate the development of self-driving cars, but it hasn’t actually got together since the first meeting in January. This meeting actually took place while President Obama was still in office, creating a bit of an iffy feeling about the Trump administration. According to the same sources, there are no future meetings in the diary currently either. Have the wheels fallen off US ambitions for the self-driving car?

The signs are not good. Lyft’s President has left the advisory group, the Department of Transportation is still reviewing how to take the group forwards, Google has gone a bit quiet in the last couple of months, Uber is constantly under fire, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration doesn’t have a boss in place and Apple’s efforts have been stalling as well.

Some might argue that the US has more to gain than most in the self-driving space. When you look at the size of the country, the logistics industry certainly looks to benefit, but that doesn’t seem to be stimulating excitement either.

There have been a few voices of discontent across the country, but there usually is when new technology is making progress. The House Energy & Commerce committee has been advancing legislation which would allow for self-driving cars quite steadily, but there has been resistance from unionists, who are preaching on the grounds of safety. In truth, it would be unfair to criticize the union leaders, as they are simply trying to protect the jobs of their members. But considering there is always opposition, it doesn’t explain this slowdown.

We’re not going to say it, but there has been one massive change in the last couple of months, which does seem to coincide with the slowdown… we’ll let you make your own decisions.

And on a completely unrelated note… here’s a picture of President Trump.

Trump

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