Self-driving cars could be seen on U.S. roads within a decade, but not without government action to promote the widespread use of technology developers say will reduce the possibility of human error and make roads safer.
On Tuesday, lawmakers in charge of steering transportation policy are test-riding the 2011 Cadillac SRX decked out with the driverless option as part of an effort to sell the technology to the important decision-makers.
“We want to highlight the need for support from policymakers to encourage the adoption of this technology, which enhances road safety and efficiency,” Ragunathan Rajkumar, co-director of the General Motors-Carnegie Mellon Vehicular Information Technology Collaborative Research Lab, told International Business Times by email. “A smarter infrastructure will also help accelerate adoption. We also want to improve social awareness and acceptance.”
Leading this awareness raising campaign Tuesday on Capitol Hill are Reps. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., and Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., was last seen in the car in September when he and Barry Schoch, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, took a 33-mile ride to Pittsburgh International Airport. The Cadillac SUV safely negotiated congestion and merged onto the highway.
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Rajkumar believes that fully automated driverless vehicles will be on U.S. roads in about a decade. By the end of this decade new cars will contain many key aspects of these technologies, he added, such as autonomous driving for long and mundane portions of road trips – consider it cruise control for the 21st century.