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US self-driving car bill misses year-end deadline

美国自动驾驶汽车法案未能在年终截止日期前完成

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【来源】: 英国工程技术学会
【时间】: 2018-12-20
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To win passage through the government body in the final days of the year, the measures would have to have been attached to a bill introduced on Wednesday to fund government operations, but that did not happen. This was the only way they could have been put forward before Congress adjourns for the Christmas period.

Chair of the Commerce Committee, Republican Senator John Thune, and Senator Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat, led the battle to win approval for more than a year and have vowed to try and put the bill forward again next year.

Thune claimed it is a “problem” if Congress does not act in 2019. “The technology is going to keep going,” Thune said. “We’ll start this up again.”

Peters also warned that the US could be surpassed on self-driving vehicles by China, South Korea and others who “are betting big on the technology and they are developing the regulatory framework to accommodate it.”

Automaker lobbyists say the measures will face tougher odds in 2019 when Democrats and Republicans will share control of Congress, with trade group the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers calling the bill’s failure “a setback for the development and ultimate deployment of potentially life-saving technologies, and leaves many unanswered questions on how this technology will be regulated.”

Congress also said they will also not take up a proposal made by GM and Tesla to extend or expand a $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles, with the Internal Revenue Service saying the tax credit for Tesla buyers will fall to $3,750 on 1 January and will phase out entirely by the end of 2019.

The US House of Representatives passed legislation in 2017 to speed the adoption of self-driving cars and bar states from setting performance standards, but the legislation stalled in the Senate. Despite concessions by car manufacturers, the bill could not overcome objections from some Democrats who argued it did not do enough to resolve safety concerns.

Instead, automakers may turn to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which has announced it plans to make it easier to test self-driving vehicles, with the NHTSA saying it was considering a pilot programme to allow real-world road testing for a limited number of vehicles without human controls back in October.

GM in January filed a petition seeking an exemption to use fully automated vehicles as part of a ride-sharing fleet, with plans to deploy this in 2019; however, the agency has not yet acted on it. On Tuesday, the agency said it was revising its rules to no longer declare petitions “complete” before publishing a summary of the request.

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