Newspaper article Roll Call

Bill Shuster: Generational Shift Will Smooth Acceptance of Driverless Cars

Newspaper article Roll Call

Bill Shuster: Generational Shift Will Smooth Acceptance of Driverless Cars

Article excerpt

House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster touted the virtues of driverless vehicles Tuesday morning in front of the Capitol, offering fellow House members rides in Carnegie Mellon University's prototype autonomous car.

Although not commenting on attempts to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, Shuster promised that "we're going to do a long-term surface transportation bill here in the near future" and that bill, he said, must include a title dealing with innovation and technology.

Showing up to support the Carnegie Mellon effort, acting Undersecretary of Transportation for Policy Peter Rogoff told reporters that safety was a compelling reason to promote autonomous vehicles.

"I have an 82-year old mother that's still driving in the roads. I'm not sure should be. But I would sleep a lot more comfortably thinking that she was in a vehicle that was detecting every vehicle around her and was stopping that vehicle sooner than maybe she is with her 82-year old reflexes," he said.

Then he added, "I'm hoping she's not going to see this press availability."

Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican, said, "I'm 53 years old and I think people about 50 and older are leery of technology" but his son and daughter, who are in their 20s, "fully embrace the technology. So I think it's a generational thing and these cars aren't going to be in mass quantities on the road I'm told for 15 or 20 years.... So as society moves on they'll accept these vehicles."

Shuster said his 22-year old son recently moved to Stamford, Conn. "Not only is his father chairman of the Transportation Committee, but his grandfather [was] and I was an auto dealer," Shuster noted. Last year his son wanted to sell his car, deciding he did not need one because he uses public transportation. "There's a generational move" away from car ownership, the lawmaker said. …

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