Driverless cars on the way, automakers tell House panel

Driverless cars on the way, automakers tell House panel

At a recent Capitol Hill hearing on autonomous vehicles, General Motors and Nissan outlined scenarios for the future of driverless technology, while committee members seemed alternately fascinated and skeptical. The hearing was held by the House Transportation Committee Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) said autonomous vehicles could fundamentally transform transportation infrastructure as we know it, according to The Hill. He added that the cars could be driven safely even when the driver is drunk or fatigued.

GM Vice President of Sustainability Mike Robinson tried to dispel any science fiction notions of total lack of human involvement in driving – at least for now.

Realistically, we expect that the systems will add automation to support the driving task, he said. But the driver will still need to be engaged and in control, said Robinson.

Raj Rajkumar of Carnegie Mellon University said we will have to wait until the 2020s for a fully autonomous vehicle that doesnt require a human in the drivers seat, reports the Detroit News.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has vowed to have an autonomous vehicle on the road by 2020. Andy Christensen, Nissans senior manager of technology planning, admitted its unclear exactly what will be available at that time, the Detroit News said.

NHTSA expects to decide by year-end whether it will write regulations to require features, such as automatic braking

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