U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Thursday said his department would seek nearly $4 billion over the next 10 years to standardize rules for self-driving cars and make it easier for carmakers to offer more autonomous vehicles.
The plan was mentioned Tuesday by President Barack Obama during his final State of the Union address and detailed by Foxx at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The plan would create a uniform autonomous vehicle policy for states to adopt and would allow more exemptions from current safety regulations for self-driving technology.
Only a few states currently allow autonomous vehicles on their roads, including California, Nevada and Michigan.
In its proposal Wednesday, U.S. House Republicans offered a carbon credit plan for automakers to trade tougher emissions standards for more safety technology. (You know, the safety features that people are already willing to pay for.)
“This is a life-saving endeavor,” Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said according to Reuters (via Automotive News). Trading pollution for safety, “incentivizes automakers to invest in new safety technology that will save more lives.”
The plan would relax future carbon dioxide requirements up to 9 percent in cars with advanced safety systems. An automotive lobby group said reducing crashes would reduce CO2 emissions.
Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn testified to a congressional committee Thursday that he wasn’t aware until last month of the illegal “defeat device” installed on nearly 500,000 cars in the U.S. — approximately 11 million worldwide — and that the car company could take several years to fix its cars.
Horn testified in front of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee for oversight and investigations for more than two hours.
“I would like to offer a sincere apology for Volkswagen’s use of a software program that served to defeat the regular emissions testing regime,” Horn said in a prepared response before answering questions from representatives.
In a prepared statement released ahead of congressional testimony Thursday, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn said the automaker knew of emissions issues last spring when West Virginia University researchers published findings that the automaker’s cars were illegally polluting. (Emphasis mine.)
In the spring of 2014 when the West Virginia University study was published, I was told that there was a possible emissions non-compliance that could be remedied. I was informed that EPA regulations included various penalties for non-compliance with the emissions standards and that the agencies can conduct engineering tests which could include “defeat device” testing or analysis. I was also informed that the company engineers would work with the agencies to resolve the issue.
(Should have followed up a little more on that email, probably.)
Fiat Chrysler Automobile dealers won’t be able to sell cars without recall repair work or they risk losing their incentive money under a new agreement with the federal government, Automotive News is reporting.
The agreement was part of the sweeping package penalties imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including up to $105 million in fines. According to the consent agreement by the federal bureau and FCA, the company already asks dealers to complete recall work, but the new mandate would reinforce that existing policy.
In the United States, it’s illegal for a dealer to sell a new car without recall repair work, but no such law exists for used cars. A recent proposal in Congress to force used car dealers to complete open recall repair work was met with opposition.
A U.S. Senate committee for transportation passed along a bill Thursday that included provisions to help domestic automakers develop and build cleaner vehicles, the Detroit News is reporting.
The proposal, dubbed the Vehicle Innovation Act, was included in a larger clean energy bill taken up by the committee. The Vehicle Innovation Act would set aside $313.6 million next year for research and development of hybrid technology, battery development and alternative fuels such as natural gas. Funding would increase by 4 percent every year up to 2020.
Nearly all major U.S. automotive lobbies representing manufacturers supported the proposal. (Read More…)
General Motors disclosed in its quarterly Securities and Exchange Commission filing Thursday that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating the automaker for selling used cars under recall, the Detroit News is reporting.
According to the automaker, the FTC notified GM that it was investigating “certified pre-owned vehicle advertising where dealers had certified vehicles allegedly needing recall repairs.”
The filing acknowledges the investigation is connected with the 2014 recall of 2.59 million cars with faulty ignition switches that could turn the car off while driving, disabling its airbags. So far, 124 deaths have been linked to the defect.
Two proposals for reforms to how the U.S. handles safety recalls and penalizes automakers are winding through a Senate committee.
A proposal backed by three Senate Democrats would make automakers include a recall warning light in the dashboard of new cars to notify owners of a safety recall and lift the cap on delayed recall fines and more. A less-aggressive proposal put forward by Republicans would require dealers to notify owners if their cars have been recalled, something most automakers already do but aren’t required by law.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 25 percent of recalls are never completed.
A transportation bill sent to Congress Monday would grant the NHTSA the authority to stop automakers from selling vehicles with dangerous safety problems.
The next vehicle the TTAC Zaibatsu or the B&B rent could be safer if Congress heeds the call of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.