Officials from trade groups representing automakers and tech companies, as well as consumer and vehicle safety, called on Congress to carve out legislation for autonomous vehicles that sharpens safeguards and closes loopholes without hindering innovation and global competitiveness.
During the hearing, held Tuesday in Washington by a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, witnesses and legislators spoke of the growing benefits of autonomous vehicle technology — and, eventually, self-driving vehicles on their own — and their role in preventing or mitigating accidents and collisions.
But obstacles remain, including the need for federal legislation that allows the United States to remain globally competitive as other countries, including China and Japan, roll out their own regulations and developments for self-driving vehicles.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said the U.S. has fallen behind other countries since the Self Drive Act was approved unanimously by the House in 2017.
"China is using our infrastructure, testing on our roads, collecting information on our citizens and stealing our technology to beat us," Rodgers said. "There is a global race to AVs. Do we want China to win that race or do we want to lead?"