By Marjorie Dickman, Global Director & Associate General Counsel, Automated Driving and IoT Policy
In advance of today’s Commerce Committee hearing on self-driving cars, Senators Thune (R-SD), Peters (D-MI) and Nelson (D-FL) released six guiding principles for bipartisan legislation: (i) prioritize safety; (ii) promote innovation; (iii) remain tech-neutral; (iv) reinforce separate state and federal roles; (v) strengthen cybersecurity; and (vi) educate the public.
The Senators have been collaborating to ensure that self-driving vehicles have the right public policy framework to ensure safety and incentivize US innovation and global leadership in this competitive sector. They recognize that autonomous vehicles will change our lives and societies for the better, resulting in fewer accidents, greater mobility, more efficient traffic flow, and spur significant economic activity in the US. A recent Intel study projects that self-driving cars could save 535,000 lives between 2035 and 2045, due to their inherent safety, along with a savings of $234 billion over the same period in costs that would otherwise be caused by collisions.
With this transformative societal and economic impact, Intel is heavily invested in the success of autonomous vehicle technology in the US and around the world. Our Intel® GO™ automotive solutions deliver the incredibly high compute performance and scalability needed to power the complex set of technologies and artificial intelligence required for self-driving vehicles. And we have opened Advanced Vehicle Labs in Silicon Valley, Arizona, Oregon and Germany to test autonomous vehicles.
Accordingly, we strongly support the efforts of Senators Thune, Peters and Nelson in pursuing legislation that will accelerate the safe testing and deployment of self-driving vehicles, based on their six guiding principles. In fact, in testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee last June, Intel made the following policy recommendations which are reflected in the Senators’ principles:
- Prioritize Safety and Security. Intel concurs with the Senators in prioritizing safety and promoting security as an integral feature of vehicle connectivity from the very beginning of development. We believe that enhanced safety is vital to the success of America’s self-driving future. Safety includes reducing the number and severity of crashes and protecting the security of data generated by vehicles. With respect to reducing crashes, self-driving vehicles will remove the risk of human error and therefore reduce US traffic deaths by tens of thousands per year. With respect to security, self-driving vehicles generate approximately 4 terabytes of data every 90 minutes. Intel automotive solutions prioritize the security of this data. Our hardware and software are being designed from the beginning to be secure. This is one reason why Intel technology is trusted in hundreds of autonomous test vehicles on the roads today.
- Encourage Innovation and Competition. Self-driving vehicles have enormous potential to improve safety, mobility, energy use, and transportation efficiency – paving the way for America’s smart cities of tomorrow. Intel believes that innovation and market competition, in tandem with light-touch performance-based regulation, must drive our nation’s public policy framework for autonomous vehicles. Prescriptive regulation of technology, however well intended, will always lag marketplace innovation and often thwart innovation. In order for the US to lead the world in the automotive sector of tomorrow, Senators Thune, Peters and Nelson appropriately seek to promote innovation by reducing existing regulations written long before self-driving vehicles were ever contemplated.
- Promote Technology Neutrality. Intel has long been a proponent of tech neutrality. Consistent with this principle set forth by the Senators, the Joint House-Senate Statement accompanying the 2015 FAST Act reads: “The FAST Act ensures that [US Department of Transportation] programs are implemented and Intelligent Transportation Systems are deployed in a technology neutral manner. The Act promotes technology neutral policies that accelerate vehicle and transportation safety research, development and deployment by promoting innovation and competitive market-based outcomes, while using federal funds efficiently and leveraging private sector investment across the automotive, transportation and technology sectors.” Tech-neutral policies based on competitive market-based outcomes, rather than technology mandates, are critical to ensure US consumers benefit from the life-saving capabilities of self-driving cars and safety-critical 5G vehicle communications technology. We commend the Senators on their tech-neutral focus.
Intel is very encouraged by Senators Thune, Peters and Nelson’s principles for self-driving vehicles legislation. We believe that, with their strong bipartisan collaboration, America is on a path to lead the world in investment, testing, deployment and commercialization of autonomous vehicles. Intel looks forward to continuing to work with the Committee on this important legislation to ensure that self-driving vehicles reach their full life-saving potential, realize maximum societal and economic benefits, and become widely available in the US in a globally competitive manner.