Obama Administration Proposes $4B Plan To Push Self-Driving Car Development

Jan 15, 2016 10:47 AM EST | John Nassivera

Self-driving technology is winning over the White House, as the Obama Administration proposed a plan Thursday to spend $4 billion on kicking up the development of autonomous cars.

The plan, which will span 10 years, is aimed at reducing deaths on the road, as U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that four out of five car accidents occur because of a driver's mistake, according to USA Today.

"We ask ourselves, 'What if human error could be eliminated?'" Foxx told reporters at the National American International Auto Show in Detroit. "That is a possibility worth pursuing."

Regulators from the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that they will look for unified national regulations on self-driving cars, and they are advising automakers to run trials with these vehicles.

The initiative is also part of a broader plan that President Barack Obama revealed during his Station of the Union address Tuesday, which aims to build a "21st century transportation system," NBC News reported. The federal government said in a press release that the goal is to provide a "model state policy" on autonomous vehicles within the next six months that offers "a path to consistent national policy."

Companies that are working on self-driving cars, which include Ford, Toyota, Tesla, and non-automakers like Google and Uber, currently face different regulations for the technology in different states, as California's rules are stricter than those in Texas.

Among the pilot projects in the plan will be a program to test self-driving cars by investing in technologically-connected roads, USA Today noted.

Several issues have been raised regarding regulations for self-driving cars, such as handling insurance policies, which technologies will be legal, liability for crashes involving autonomous vehicles, and what kind of on-road testing will be allowed.

Foxx discussed the regulations with representatives from automakers working on the technology. "If you've got a good idea that you think doesn't compromise safety, bring it to us," he said.

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