President Donald Trump Isn't a Fan of Autonomous Cars

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【Summary】“I don’t trust some computer to drive me around,” Trump told golf club members at his Bedminster club in 2017.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Apr 27, 2019 10:15 AM PT
President Donald Trump Isn't a Fan of Autonomous Cars

In its latest survey, the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that 71 percent of Americans are afraid to ride in fully self-driving cars. The association believes that accidents involving autonomous vehicles, like the one last March that involved an Uber that struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, are swaying opinions. Regardless of whether you vote blue or red, the majority of Americans agree with President Donald Trump, who also isn't the largest advocate for self-driving cars. 

Trump's Concerns With Self-Driving Cars

In a report citing multiple sources, Axios claims that Trump has made his skepticism of self-driving vehicles well known. "He's definitely an automated car skeptic," said one unnamed source. Another source claims the president told him that driverless vehicles "will never work." 

One of the more interesting reports Axios has of Trump's disdain toward autonomous vehicles involves a hypothetical situation he shared with a source. "He says, ‘Can you imagine, you're sitting in the back seat and all of a sudden this car is zig-zagging around the corner and you can't stop the f---ing thing?" 

This isn't necessarily out of character for Trump, who usually speaks what's on his mind, but it does clash with what Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, who was Trump's nomination for the role, doesn't seem to share the same sentiment. As TechCrunch reports, Chao recently announced the establishment of the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council. The organization's primary function is reducing the number of impediments autonomous vehicles, and other technology, face when it comes to jurisdictional and regulatory gaps. 

"New technologies increasingly straddle more than one mode of transportation, so I've signed an order creating a new internal Department council to better coordinate the review of innovation that have multi-modal applications," said Chao. 

What Companies Can Do To Bolster Popularity

So far at the moment, it doesn't look like Trump and Chao's viewpoints have collided. But as more policies involving autonomous vehicles make it higher up the government's ladder, the chance of that happening grows. 

Obviously, if Trump were to put a stop to autonomous vehicles or driverless testing, it would leave automakers, technology companies, and others invested in the field out to dry. If they don't want this to happen, they need to show consumers, and the president himself, that autonomous technology is worth pursuing. 

To that end, companies and automakers came together to establish Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE). The coalition, which includes companies like Mobileye, Nvidia, and Aurora, as well as automakers like General Motors, Toyota, and Audi, is all about providing information on self-driving vehicles. Its goal is to ensure that consumers have the right information to make their own opinion on the technology. 

Educating people on how autonomous vehicles operate, what their parameters are, and all of the technology behind the vehicles may help them become more popular in the eyes of American drivers. 

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