Toyota and General Motors (GM) are calling for relaxed regulations on driverless vehicles as representatives of both companies presented their case to a U.S. House panel on Monday, Reuters reports. The two automakers believe that the current regulatory framework stifles innovation to a point where it could take years before today's self-driving technology and solutions end up on public roads. In a written testimony that was published yesterday, GM's Vice President of Global Strategy Mike Abelson explained how the regulators must find a way to allow companies to test autonomous vehicles in larger numbers. On the same day, U.S. Senators Gary Peters and John Thune said how they're working on a bipartisan bill designed to assist automakers in developing self-driving vehicles by eliminating unnecessary legal obstacles. Peters and Thune are hoping their efforts will result in a bill proposal by the end of the year.
Toyota Research Institute's Executive Chief Gill Pratt also reportedly testified before a U.S. House panel on Monday and said how it's extremely important that the federal government updates the existing vehicle safety standards to account for driverless vehicles as quickly as possible. Some of the existing standards are either inconsistent or completely incompatible with self-driving cars, Pratt said. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell previously revealed she's drafting rules which would eliminate some of the current regulations preventing the automakers from testing a greater number of vehicles on public roads throughout the United States. The current regulatory framework allows the U.S. Transportation Department to annually exempt a maximum of 2,500 vehicles from rules imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Seeing how numerous automakers and tech giants in the country are currently developing self-driving vehicles and related technologies, that cap is severely crippling their abilities to innovate, Toyota and GM claim.
Representatives of Lyft and Volvo also testified in front of a U.S. House panel on Monday. Numerous automakers have previously asked President Trump to review a guidance on driverless technologies the Obama administration published in September. However, that still hasn't happened and as an increasing number of States is now adopting their own regulatory frameworks, the auto industry is worried their advancements in this field will be slowed down to a crawl unless the federal government eases some of the existing regulations.