Apart from manufacturing, where automation is ubiquitous, autonomous vehicles are one of the most highly anticipated areas of real-world automation. Where the vast majority of robots in the news are proof of concept, early research, and likely to make a big difference in our lives someday, self-driving vehicles exist in the real world and could be a game changer any minute now.
This makes it somewhat surprising that the U.S. government’s committee on autonomous vehicles has been shut down. The Verge broke the news this week, reporting that some members they had reached out to hadn’t known the committee had been shut down until they heard it from the reporters.
You can watch their first and only meeting at the Department of Transportation’s website.
The official word of termination explains that the committee is inactive and “active stakeholder engagement is already underway.”
The committee is therefore not needed.
The task force included experts from industry and academia. Congress has a page on autonomous vehicles that explains what has already been done about regulation for driverless cars and trucks. This page points out that different cities and states have already enacted regulations, and that this might make it hard to handle travel from one state to another if national rules don’t settle in soon.
14 states have at least introduced regulations for autonomous vehicles at this point.
Representatives from Google, which has self-driving cars on the street already, told a hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that a patchwork of state and city laws for autonomous vehicles would create an “unworkable situation” that could keep autonomous vehicles from being used in the United States.
Meanwhile, autonomous vehicles are already a game changer in warehouses and on loading docks.
Bosch, Rexroth’s parent company, is involved in autonomous vehicle development with BMW.