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Intel Commends the Advent of Federal Autonomous Vehicle Guidelines

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Marjorie Dickman, Global Director & Managing Counsel of Internet of Things Policy at Intel Corporation

As a global technology leader in advancing the future of fully autonomous driving, Intel appreciates the U.S. Department of Transportation’s announcement today of guidelines for the testing and deployment of highly automated vehicles, also known as self-driving cars.  Today’s federal guidance aligns with several core Intel principles: Our company’s vision for the future of transportation is one of zero accidents, mobility for all, environmental sustainability, reduced congestion, increased efficiency, as well as a regulatory environment that encourages innovation to evolve at the pace of technology, ensuring U.S. global leadership.

Intel commends DOT/NHTSA’s interest in encouraging U.S. innovation, as well as seeking a consistent national framework across all 50 states for the testing, deployment and operation of highly automated vehicles.  Akin to this strategy, Intel also encourages the agency to invest a larger portion of its “innovation” grant funding in autonomous vehicles.  Increased investment – along with removing unnecessary barriers and promoting autonomous vehicle research and deployment – are critical to U.S. global competitiveness in the 21st century and, most importantly, to saving more lives.  Intel welcomes the opportunity to engage with DOT/NHTSA, our Intel site states and other states to help shape and drive policies that foster this pro-safety, pro-innovation future for autonomous driving.

Highly automated vehicles, or self-driving cars – which even five years ago seemed like a far off “Jetsons” fantasy – are now just around the corner.  The pace of innovation, spurred by traditional and non-traditional auto industry players, continues to accelerate.  With this accelerated innovation, consumers are increasingly demanding and even expecting certain autonomous vehicle safety technologies like predictive collision warning, automatic braking, parking assist and active lane control when they purchase new vehicles.  And for good reason.

Industry experts project that deployment of autonomous vehicles will drastically reduce accidents (up to 90 percent) and save the U.S. over a trillion dollars per year.  Autonomous vehicles also are expected to provide a host of other impressive societal and economic benefits.  Use of autonomous vehicles will lessen our dependence upon oil by substantially decreasing fuel consumption.  They also will provide numerous environmental benefits by reducing harmful emissions and pollution-causing congestion.  Moreover, autonomous vehicles will deliver an increase in individual and collective productivity as we regain time previously lost to traffic and driving.  Society also will realize other benefits such as enabling new mobility options for the disabled and elderly.

With this plethora of impactful societal and economic benefits – most important among them the ability to save numerous lives – it is no surprise that so many countries and industry leaders around the world are making large investments to accelerate autonomous vehicle technology.  The fact is that this is a highly competitive global race to create an autonomous vehicle world.  To maintain America’s leadership, it is imperative that our nation’s policymakers promote pro-innovation, technology neutral policies that incentivize the research and deployment of autonomous vehicles, while enabling sufficient flexibility to evolve with (rather than thwart) the pace of technology.  This is a first step in that direction.

Indeed, as automobiles continue the rapid transformation from heavy-duty horsepower to complex compute power, Intel and the high-tech industry are playing an increasingly critical role in a safer, more innovative and globally competitive transportation future.  Collaborating with our auto industry, academic, and other partners, we are committed to remain at the forefront of this extraordinary transition in automotive technology that has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives in the U.S. each year.  We look forward to working with DOT/NHTSA and other federal and state policymakers to advance autonomous vehicles and usher in a zero accident future for consumers and businesses in the U.S. and around the world.
About the Author
Global Director & Managing Counsel, Internet of Things Policy