Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Autonomous Driving Technology

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg participated in an Axios virtual debate about the role of autonomous and electric vehicles in President Biden’s infrastructure agenda. Later in the show, Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei spoke with Cruise CEO Dan Ammann about his company’s self-driving car technology.

Tanis Crosby, executive director of the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, also spoke about her organization’s efforts to distribute food to those in need.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is keeping a close eye on the electric vehicle industry and current leader Tesla, particularly in light of the latter’s contentious autonomous driving features, which have purportedly had a role in several crashes.
Any report of a safety issue is handled extremely seriously at the federal level, as well as by the NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] inside my department.

That is also true when it comes to collecting and requiring information from automakers “On Yahoo Finance Live, Buttigieg stated. “We also have a way to gather information from individual drivers who have had problems.

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We must ensure that these technologies are safe when they are implemented. And we need to make it plain to drivers that no matter how clever or smart their automobile is, any car they buy on the market today in the United States requires them to be behind the wheel and paying attention.”

The National Transportation Safety Board supplied this photograph of damage to a 2021 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor electric car after an incident in Coral Gables, Fla., in September 2021.

Federal investigators said in a preliminary report issued Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, that the Tesla driver who died with a passenger in a catastrophic September crash near Miami accelerated to 90 mph (145 kph) in the seconds before he lost control and plowed into trees.

Transportation Secretary

Buttigieg’s remarks came on the heels of the NHTSA’s hiring of Missy Cummings as a senior advisor. On Twitter, the Duke University electrical and computer science professor has previously criticized Tesla’s self-driving characteristics. Cummings’ Twitter account has since been deactivated.

Musk, on the other side, has been a persistent Twitter critic of Cummings and the NHTSA.

“Clearly and accurately, her track record is extremely prejudiced against Tesla,” Musk remarked in a tweet on Cummings’ hire on 19 Oct.

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Buttigieg reportedly told reporters a few weeks ago that Musk is willing to call him to settle any issues or concerns.

While the mayor of South Bend, Buttigieg advocated for reconfigured streets and roadways to allow for more effective traffic movement. Buttigieg intends to implement similar concepts for USDOT as Transportation Secretary.  

“There are so many other ways that people move around, and we’ve frequently had an auto-centric vision that has historically forgotten about all the other diverse modes,” Buttigieg said.

“We want to make sure that when we build a street, it allows vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, businesses, and any other mode to coexist favorably. That should be supported financially.”

The US Department of Transportation has likewise made autonomous vehicles a priority. Lawmakers have expressed worries about self-driving car safety standards, and Buttigieg has spoken on the USDOT’s responsibilities to keep up with new technology breakthroughs.

“Automated vehicle technology is on its way; it’s evolving at a rapid pace,” he remarked. “It has the potential to be transformative, and I believe the policy has lagged in many areas.”

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The NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] launched a formal safety investigation into Tesla’s autopilot driving system in August. Following many crashes involving the EV maker’s cars and emergency vehicles, the investigation has narrowed in on 765,000 Tesla automobiles in the United States of America[USA].

Buttigieg went on to say, “There is enormous upside potential in autonomous driving and driver assistance. Look, we just got some sobering statistics on traffic deaths in this country: more than 30,000 people are killed each year.

As a result, the status quo is manifestly untenable. To put it frankly, human drivers have a poor track record. But it’s not a given that computer systems will perform better unless we have the correct kind of regulation in place and the absolute greatest expectations.

That is what our department will be focusing on, and we will hold companies to a very high level.”


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