Best of the Web: A.V.s

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By Staff/ OP Ed

Today’s best of the web covers a topic familiar to our readers–AVs or Autonomous Vehicles (self-driving cars).

You might be kind of sick of it by now, but the debate rolls on and who better to argue about things than the United States Congress. So we give you the “Self Driving Act.”

This one took most of us by surprise. So we searched around and there’s enough coverage to give the story credibility. The government is, in fact, going to jump into the discussion about self-driving cars and is supposed to end up writing a law about them.

Most of the “proof” that AVs are coming is usually pretty circumstantial. For example, the essay in this article, written by Jeff Brown, states:

2016 was also a record year for funding early-stage automotive technology companies primarily focused in and around autonomous vehicle technology and related systems. Eighty-seven deals took place at a value in excess of $1 billion.

So a bunch of well-heeled companies threw a billion research dollars at it. Clearly, AVs are on the cusp of joining our regular daily lives. It’s a great measure of interest but it falls short of predicting success.

However, Congress taking an interest can signal something different. A company may thoroughly go after an immerging market and change or delay things as it develops. The government has the power to make something impact the economy whether it works or not. Government subsidies made EVs (all electronic vehicles) sell well through subsidies and sales pretty much tanked when we stopped paying people to buy them.

We don’t see the government needing to throw money directly at consumers to create demand. But that doesn’t mean they won’t pave the way for AVs whether or not they are ready. If they can get even parts of major cities going on them they’ll hail it as a victory and move onto the next battle.

When our resident grump (OP ED guy) was asked to comment he had this to say:

Tech moguls and business men like the executives at Google and Uber are enthusiastic about letting cars drive themselves. Ask someone who USES google maps to DRIVE for Uber every day and you’ll get less enthusiasm. Not because they’re scared of losing their employment but because people who actually use technology have a better understanding of its limitations. And while we’re on the topic, where’s my personal jetpack?

Well, there you go. Here’s some further research for you to check out.

https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/27/us-self-driving-car-bill-house-floor/

https://www.wired.com/story/congress-self-driving-car-law-bill/

https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/6/16259170/self-drive-act-autonomous-cars-legislation

https://energycommerce.house.gov/selfdrive/

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