• September 15th, 2017

Industry and labor officials told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that fast-developing automated vehicle technologies in heavy trucks and buses can make highways much safer and freight shipping more efficient, but could create major safety gaps if not closely coordinated with communications systems emerging for passenger cars.

The hearing comes at a time that manufacturers and tech firms are moving ahead with both prototypes and real-world test runs, and predictions that commercial truck operations could begin deploying highly automated and even driverless units before many such cars hit the road.

Some senators and witnesses also said the different issues that could lead to self-driving commercial trucks have not received nearly the attention as those for cars, leading to differing views on whether the same legislation that sets federal requirements for autonomous passenger vehicle development should apply to heavy cargo rigs and large buses.