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U.S. government to invest $4 billion in autonomous cars

President Obama's secretary of transportation, Anthony Foxx, announced this week that the government had pledged to spend $4 billion over the next 10 years to help advanced autonomous vehicle technology. It's currently thought that partially self-piloted vehicles will be available by 2020 and fully autonomous ones by 2025, but this could accelerate that.

At least that's the plan. The investment was said to be in aide of helping “accelerate the development of safe vehicle automation, through real world pilot projects,” (via Motherboard).

The money will begin being allocated as soon as February when the White House releases its 2017 budget, with plans for a new, nationwide framework for developing and operating autonomous vehicles to be rolled out over the next six months. The idea with that is to clear away some of the legal red tape that has hamstrung developments and testing in some states over the past few years.


Tesla's autopilot feature was recently restricted to motorways while the kinks are worked out

Having a national standard for safety and development will make it much simpler for developers looking to test their automated systems on private and public road ways. Previously companies have complained that credible tests were not possible due to legislative hurdles in different parts of the country.

However not everyone has been having issues. Google and Ford have been really pushing automated vehicles in recent months, announcing a partnership that could lead to driverless cars within the next few years. Tesla also made its autonomous mode available to the public recently, and though there were a few issues, it for the most part went quite smoothly.

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KitGuru Says: Although 2025 is the date often given for full autonomy in cars, with the competition ramping up between the different companies, I can see it happening much sooner. It won't be cheap or perfect, but I wouldn't be surprised to see fully driverless cars pootling about in the next few years.


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