Latta, Dingell shift into drive the bipartisan autonomous vehicle caucus

U.S. Reps. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green and Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, launched the bipartisan Congressional Autonomous Vehicle Caucus, Latta’s office announced in a Monday press release.

The purpose is to educate members and staff on autonomous vehicle technology that can improve the safety and accessibility of roadways.

Latta and Dingell serve together on the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“For generations, the United States has paved the way in innovative vehicle technology. Autonomous vehicles are the next step forward. In order for this technology to succeed, we must educate, advocate, and create a framework to implement their use,” Latta said. “This technology will improve the lives of millions of Americans, while simultaneously providing people living with disabilities and seniors increased mobility and independence.”

The caucus will educate members of Congress on AV technology and work toward a national framework so that AVs can continue to safely expand throughout the country, he said.

“If the United States is going to stay the forefront of innovation, manufacturing, and safety, we must ensure our nation is engaging all stakeholders, making bold investments, and working across the aisle to get the necessary policies right to support the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles,” Dingell said.

The caucus will provide a space for likeminded members to learn, discuss and collaborate on all the important issues and opportunities related to autonomous vehicles, she said.

Autonomous vehicles, if properly designed, have the potential to dramatically enhance the independent mobility of blind Americans, said Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind.

“Collaborating with people who have lived experiences to inform the technology design and policymaking processes is critical. As the transformative membership and advocacy organization of blind Americans, we are excited about the opportunity to work with this new bipartisan caucus on promoting safe and accessible vehicles to benefit the blind and many others,” Riccobono said.

Autonomous vehicles will change transportation as we know it – helping to reduce vehicle crashes and fatalities on our roads, said John Bozzella, president and CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation.

“The United States is home to innovative AV companies that are developing and pioneering this technology, and American ingenuity is setting the pace for the rest of the world,” he said. “What we’re lacking is a federal policy framework to expand AV testing and use across the country. That’s what is so significant about Reps. Latta and Dingell teaming up to launch the bipartisan Congressional AV caucus – a dedicated voice in Congress committed to establishing the right policy conditions to increase the use of AVs and promote American leadership.”

“Autonomous vehicles offer better opportunities for all Americans: safer roads, more mobility options for seniors and people with disabilities, improved access in food deserts, supply chain resilience, new jobs and economic development,” said Ariel Wolf, general counsel to the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association.