Carmakers and technology companies in the United States are facing regulatory roadblocks when it comes to getting the wheels rolling with autonomous vehicles (AVs).
Last week, Ford and Volkswagen announced they would be closing self-driving startup company Argo AI amid a lack of technology development.
Rules around the technology are also lacking considering US Congress hasn’t made any effort to amend its regulations for AVs.
There’s also no word on when the nation will see self-driving cars on the roads without human controls.
Pete Buttigieg, US Transportation Secretary, said he has “very high hopes for the theoretical possibility that self-driving cars and high-tech cars will save thousands and thousands of lives because human beings have a basically murderous track record as drivers of cars,” reports Reuters.
“But we’re not there yet.”
The threat of competition from China is also prominent in getting AVs on the road. Lawmakers and the industry itself have pushed Buttigieg to develop a framework for the vehicles in order to gain a competitive edge before it’s too late.
The push comes as the US road toll has soared since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising by 10.5 per cent to 49,915 lives just last year.
According to advocates, autonomous vehicles are one way lives can be saved on the road alongside reducing the need for parking in congested cities and cutting emissions.