With the President of the United States’ final “State of the Union” speech to take place later tonight as electoral campaigns hit their crunch, President Obama has precious little time to make the differences and set the precedents he may want to before his time in the White House is up. Thankfully for the tech industry, especially a crestfallen Google jilted by their homeland, Obama and his administration do plan to address self-driving cars before their time in the spotlight is over and they plan to do it in a positive light. These announcements will presumably tie into whatever plans Obama has for advanced transportation in Tuesday’s “State of the Union” address.
Whatever President Obama has up his sleeve, it must be big; according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration head Mark Rosekind, the United States Department of Transportation’s very own secretary, Anthony Foxx, will be heading to Detroit to brief all the big players on what could very well be the first and final move that President Obama makes regarding self-driving cars. According to a spokesperson for Google, they will be on hand to help break the news, whatever it may be. With most players in the self-driving field toeing the waters for fear of legal repercussions, this announcement, speculated as possibly being a proposal to enact blanket Federal laws, is apparently set to be big enough to make or break an entire burgeoning industry.
Very few players, such as Tesla, have been brave enough to throw their self-driving tech into open waters thus far. Even the biggest of big dogs, Google, is still conducting careful testing while collecting data. The Obama Administration did not give specifics on what the Commander-In-Chief may be planning, but a subtle hint may have been dropped by Rosekind back in December. He said that a “patchwork” of state laws regarding self-driving cars was one possible future and one that was not ideal. Rather, he wants a more adaptable approach to be taken, most likely on a Federal level. Detroit and Silicon Valley can’t seem to decide if they’re butting heads or holding hands these days, but one thing they surely have in common is intense anticipation of tonight’s address and Thursday’s big announcement.