August 27, 2018

*Read about New York’s Campaign against Distracted Driving here.

As long as, we already have self-driving cards and smart infrastructure, the number one question for all of us is, will it be able to make dramatic improvements in safety and holding incredible promise to reduce deaths and serious injuries from automobile accidents?

The answer to that will be: Yes. They can also offer enormous potential for Michigan’s economic increase. It is imperative that Michigan leads the way in the development and what else, the testing.

What is interesting is that our region’s global competitiveness depends on our capability of improving this technology. Michigan is in a key position to guide this life-changing technology in the mobility. It is similar to Michigan’s way of leading the mass production of the automobile over a century ago.

However, we deal with competitors such as China, Korea, Germany and Sweden that are already working to outpace us. They prioritize national policies for self-driving cars and give domestic manufacturers a competitive way of developing much safer vehicles.

The state’s legislature has already taken some steps for taking the leadership role. Congress must take action to create a federal policy that will keep the United States – and Michigan – at the forefront of this new industry called autonomous cars.

U.S. Sen Gary Peters is proudly presenting our state who is in charge to advance self-driving technology at the federal level with the AV START Act.

The Detroit Regional Chamber supports the sense of the bill to provide a clear oversight structure for the safe development of self-driving cars. The bill ensures vehicle safety meanwhile directing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to write the comprehensive safety regulations we will need in the future. Also, what the bill will do is to aid the process of creating a technical advisory committee which will be able to bring industry experts.

Some of the organizations don’t agree with the legislation, claiming it doesn’t do enough to provide safety. Almost 40,000 lives are lost on our roads every year and more are injured in the accidents. In the matter of fact, people must accept this statistic, but self-driving cars have the potential to decrease the number by 94%.

Our Michigan automotive manufacturers and suppliers know that nothing will slow down the flow of people who are buying the cars. But if we want the life-saving potential to get to work, companies need the federal government to create the new rules of the road.

What we need to do is that we shouldn’t lose the opportunity of leading the self-driving car race. In another case, we will lose more than just a chance to achieve new milestones in vehicle safety and be ceding Michigan’s foothold the world leader in automotive development.

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