Google, Uber, Ford drive self-driving car group with Volvo and Lyft

Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets to lobby the NHTSA. Ex-NHTSA bigwig David Strickland circles the revolving door.

Google Uber Ford self driving cars
Venable, LLP

Google, Uber, Ford, Volvo and Lyft form self-driving car 'advocacy' group. State and U.S. regulators seem poised to crack down on feet- and hands-free driving, so Google's gang wants to head them off.

Autonomous vehicles are likely to be a moneyspinner for the industry, so you can see their motivation. But it's easy to be cynical, given the fact that it's led by a former NHTSA honcho. Yes, the revolving door is alive and well in Washington, DC.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers revolve indoors. Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

What’s the craic? David Sherpardson reports—Google, Ford, Uber launch coalition:

They are forming...the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer push for federal action to help speed self-driving cars to market. ... David Strickland, the former top official of the...NHTSA, the [U.S.] agency that is [regulating] self-driving cars, will be [its] spokesman. [He] said the group is "a full policy and messaging campaign"...and not just about lobbying.

NHTSA did not immediately return a message seeking comment. [It] hopes to release its guidance...on self-driving vehicles in July. [It] has said policymakers should avoid a "patchwork" of state regulations.

Why now? I can't help thinking there's some background to this. Michael Wade says the group aims to promote federal self-driving car regulations:

California...proposed to ban Google’s Koala car that does not have a steering wheel. [But it] recently indicated it could...incorporate NHTSA guidelines into its regulations.

Follow the money. Shawn Knight moves in a mysterious, L-shaped way—to expedite the arrival of self-driving cars:

There’s billions of the autonomous vehicle sector. ... The Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets [is] a lobbying group for those who stand to benefit. [This] comes just one day ahead of the NHTSA’s second of two public forums [which] takes place on Wednesday at Stanford University.

The future lies in self-driving vehicles but [it's not] all sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. ... I don’t think people are considering the ramifications of replacing modern vehicles with those of the autonomous variety.

Interesting to see Ford on that list. Mike Martinez told me something I didn't know aboutFord:

Ford has been working on autonomous vehicles for more than a decade. ... Its autonomous fleet of Fusions...have been testing in Michigan, California and Arizona. ... Executives have said they expect...a fully driverless car by 2020, but [not from] Ford.

There's one or two obvious names missing from the coalition. Roger Fingas fingers one: [You're fired -Ed.]

[It] may ultimately help Apple, which is believed to be working on an electric car. [It] may or may not be self-driving, but Apple is nevertheless believed to be working on [it].

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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