Chris Spear, the new President of the American Trucking Associations, criticized the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) for excluding the trucking industry as it develops new rules on driverless vehicles.
Spear is calling on Congress to ensure that trucking and other interests are part of the process, arguing that truck makers, original equipment manufacturers, and trucking fleets have so far been excluded.
Speaking at a lunch on Capitol Hill Oct. 26, Spear said, “Our industry was not included in that process, despite what was said. We were never at the table, we never had any input. This is really being developed by one mode, not multiple modes,” Spear continued. “You’ve got to have all modes developing this. We all share the road.”
The remarks were made during a panel discussion on self-driving vehicles organized by the Securing America’s Future Energy group (SAFE).
ATA’s criticism came the same week that Anheuser-Bush announced the first real-world commercial use of autonomous trucking. Some 45,000 cans of Budweiser beer arrived to a warehouse after traveling over 120 highway miles in a self-driving truck with no driver at the wheel.
Transportation experts predict the earliest applications of autonomous technology will be in self-driving trucks, not cars. The technology is best suited to the relative predictability of long hauls on highways, rather than busy city streets.
The Obama Administration in September proposed guidelines for self-driving cars that include 15 benchmarks automakers will need to meet before their autonomous vehicles can hit the road.
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