Autonomous Vehicle Revolution

A future in which autonomous motor vehicles are capable of picking up passengers, navigating suburban, urban, and rural streets, and automatically reacting to roadway obstacles is not that far away. Already, various models of autonomous vehicles are being tested in research facilities and, increasingly, on public roadways. While automated vehicles were once relegated to the realm of science fiction, aspects of autonomous vehicle technology are already incorporated into a wide range of vehicles—even if many drivers don’t yet realize it.

To address the policies surrounding this important technology, the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress (CSPC) convened off-the-record roundtables in Washington, D.C.; San Francisco, California; and Seattle, Washington. Our goal was to begin a dialogue between the government and private sectors about this transformative technology and to identify solutions to potential problems.

In addressing these and other policy challenges, the way forward is clear—to fully realize the many benefits of autonomous vehicles, the United States needs to foster a regulatory environment that encourages innovation and places technical solutions—rather than regulatory action—at the forefront of a new transportation paradigm.