By Marjorie Dickman, Global Director and Associate General Counsel, IoT and Automated Driving Policy
Today, Intel joined over 100 stakeholder entities in sending a letter to Senate leadership supporting the AV START Act and seeking expedited Senate floor consideration of this milestone legislation before Memorial Day recess. The AV START Act supports the development of highly automated vehicle (AV) safety technologies and will advance the safe testing and deployment of self-driving cars in America.
Passage of the AV START Act is a critical step to vastly increasing safety on our nation’s roads and highways, enhancing mobility for important segments of society, improving transportation efficiency, and prioritizing U.S. competitiveness in the highly competitive global AV marketplace. Intel applauds the bipartisan leadership of Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune, Ranking Member Bill Nelson, and Senator Gary Peters over the last year for their advancement of the AV START Act.
In the tech sector, we think about the big technology developments that have transformed society like the combustion engine in the 1870s, the electronic transistor in the mid-1900s and the PC in the 1970s. Today, we are at the forefront of another technology transformation: The autonomous vehicle, commonly referred to as the self-driving car.
AVs will transform our lives for generations to come. For example, Intel projects that AVs will save over a half million lives from 2035 to 2045, when they will account for nearly half of the vehicles on the road. AVs also will increase mobility for the elderly and disabled communities and increase overall societal productivity, unleashing an entirely new Passenger Economy when we would otherwise be driving.
As a leading technology solutions provider in the fast-growing global AV sector, Intel has strongly supported efforts to advance the AV START Act since its inception. And we expect to deploy a fleet of 100 self-driving test vehicles in the U.S. and around the world this year, led by our Mobileye automated driving business unit. In fact, one of these vehicles will be our CEO’s mode of transportation to and from his office at Intel’s Santa Clara headquarters.
We especially commend the AV START Act’s recognition of the increasingly critical role that technology companies are playing in the development, testing and deployment of AVs. Key provisions include:
- clarification of federal and state roles in regulating self-driving cars;
- expansion of exemption authority from existing Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, until the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is able to update its regulations to contemplate vehicles without a driver or traditional steering wheel and brake pedal;
- expansion of AV testing under a uniform federal framework to include technology companies like Intel and Mobileye, alongside traditional industry stakeholders;
- alignment with USDOT AV Guidelines 2.0‘s 12 priority safety design elements;
- establishment of a new USDOT Consumer Education working group on automated driving systems (ADS) and driver assistance systems; and
- inclusion of ADS manufacturers like Intel and Mobileye in a new USDOT Highly Automated Vehicle Technical Safety Committee.
Intel commends the Senate Commerce Committee on unanimously passing all of these important provisions last year, and we are excited to be driving this life-saving technology transformation with our partners across the AV marketplace.
We look forward to continuing to work with bipartisan Members of both houses of Congress, along with USDOT and the White House, to advance the safe testing, scalability and mass adoption of self-driving vehicles in America and around the world.