Venable partner David Strickland was interviewed in a January 15, 2016 Law360 article on the federal government’s plans to invest $4 billion in driverless car technology. Last week, the Obama Administration designated a portion of its 2017 budget to help roll out the necessary technology and vowed to work with industry leaders on new rules and regulations.
According to Strickland, the $4 billion will primarily go to state and local governments. "This transition money is likely infrastructure incentives for the states to harmonize general rules of the road," he said. "There are some questions about deployment, like dedicated lanes and whether you’ll be able to help states and localities establish an automated driving lane…These are fairly resource intensive, so if you're going to ask states to get creative, you'll have to incentivize them to make these changes."
Over the next six months, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) plans to work with various stakeholders on the development of guidance for how to safely deploy and operate driverless vehicle technology. "I would hazard to guess that the department is looking to create a template so that you'd have self-driving cars regulated in the same way across the country as best you can without having to have a process where NHTSA issues formal rules, which has preemptive effect," Strickland added.