Products Liability Law Daily House Subcommittee discusses safety benefits of vehicle automation
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

House Subcommittee discusses safety benefits of vehicle automation

By Colleen Kave, J.D.

The U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection held a hearing on Tuesday to explore the benefits of automated technology available in self-driving cars and to learn how crash avoidance systems are improving roadway safety.

In his opening statement, Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) described how systems such as "Forward Collision Warning," "Blind Spot Detection," and "Lane Departure Warning" can help drivers make safer decisions by providing real-time information about surrounding roadway activity. Jeff Klei, President of the North America Automotive Divisions at Continental, spoke about the testing and deployment process in place for crash avoidance technologies, and Bill Gouse, the Director of Federal Programs at SAE International, explained how his association is working to provide voluntary recommendations and guidance to automated vehicles.

Dr. Kay Stepper, Vice President for Automated Driving and Driver Assistance Systems at Bosch, stated, "The truth is that many drivers and passengers are already experiencing the benefits of vehicle automation every day. The active safety system Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is integrated in to every new passenger car sold in the United States. This revolutionary technology, invented by Bosch engineer Dr. Anton van Zanten, has saved thousands of lives."

In closing, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) emphasized the need for automated vehicles in light of the rising number of traffic fatalities, noting, "We often say that the development of self-driving cars is a life-saving endeavor. Following a devastating year on our nation’s roads, this could not be truer now."

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