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Pallone Stresses Safety, Security & Privacy at Self-Driving Cars Hearing

Feb 14, 2017
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) delivered the following opening remarks at a Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee hearing on “Self-Driving Cars: Road to Deployment:”

I want to start but congratulating Representative Latta on his new chairmanship of this newly-named subcommittee.  I am hopeful that this Subcommittee will use its mandate to watch out for the little guy, and I am very pleased that the words “consumer protection” once again appear in this subcommittee’s name.
Today’s hearing on self-driving cars is an example of our consumer protection oversight obligation.  I recently read something in Recode that I think can sum up where we are:  “A decade ago, self-driving cars were a matter of debate; today, they’re an inevitability.”
And since we know they are coming to the marketplace, I am pleased that instead of talking again about the potential benefits achieved in the out years, we will get into the weeds a bit.  I look forward to hearing about where we are today in the testing and what needs to be done to establish that these cars are reliable and safe.
As I said at our self-driving cars hearing in November, we need these vehicles to be safe not just when all cars on the road are autonomous, but also during the decades of transition time when they share the road with human drivers.
I look forward to hearing how innovators are using testing, modeling, analytics, and other tools to demonstrate that these vehicles are safe—that they meet the challenges of interacting with other common obstacles on our roads such as bicyclists, pedestrians, and wet, snow covered pavement.  I also want to hear about how they are ensuring strong cybersecurity and privacy protections are in place to defend against hackers.
Autonomous driving, like so many of the latest technologies, has been created in this country by hard working men and women, many of whom are immigrants, who bring amazing skills to our workforce.  We are a nation of immigrants and any efforts to put up roadblocks to immigration will also put up roadblocks to our efforts to be ahead of the technology curve.
At the same time, with as many as 47 percent of American workers vulnerable to computerization, we need to find ways to tap these technologies to help workers find new opportunities through education and training.
Thank you.  I yield the remainder of my time to Representative Dingell—a new member of the Committee and this Subcommittee.