US Government Pledges £2.8bn For Autonomous Car Development

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Major funding from Obama administration will support development of technology and consistent laws across US states

The US could see the roll-out of self-driving cars within the next few years after the Obama administration announced significant backing in the technology.

The proposal from the Department of Transportation will see $4bn (£2.8bn) in funding used over the next decade to support the development of autonomous vehicles through the establishment of a nationwide framework and regulation.

The plans already have the backing of several major car manufacturers and technology companies, including Google, Tesla, Ford, General Motors and Volvo, and will now be sent to Congress for approval for inclusion in the White House’s 2017 fiscal budget.

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freescale smart car IoTThe plan will also look to institute consistent laws governing the vehicles over the entire United States, as currently jurisdiction differs from state to state

The plans, disclosed by Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx at the Detroit Motor Show last night, mark the most advanced support for autonomous vehicles to date.

The proposal will use the first six months of 2016 to create a nationwide framework for the “safe development and operation” of fully autonomous vehicles.

Rather, the government will work to ensure that “fully autonomous vehicles, including those designed without a human driver in mind, are deployable in large numbers when they are demonstrated to provide an equivalent or higher level of safety than is now available.”

The testing of autonomous vehicles has greatly accelerated over the past few months, with the likes of Ford and Google making huge steps in getting their cars out on public roads.

However, the security of these cars has come under question following several high-profile incidents, as BMW confirmed last year it had patched a serious security flaw that could have allowed hackers to seize control of some of its cars’ systems.

The vulnerability, which could have allowed hackers to the open doors of 2.2 million Rolls-Royce, Mini and BMW vehicles, also gave access to the onboard vehicle computer system, which manages everything from engines and brakes to air conditioning.

Recent predictions from Gartner say that by 2020, the number of connected passenger vehicles on the road in use will be about 150 million, 60 percent to 75 percent of them of which be capable of consuming, creating and sharing Web-based data.

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