CA adds Samsung to list of companies testing self-driving cars
Samsung has been granted a license to test autonomous vehicles in California, according to the state's Department of Motor Vehicles.
The global electronics company will join the state's Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program, though it has no plans yet to become a full-fledged automaker, Quartz reported. The company recently absorbed Harman, which makes electronics and audio equipment for connected vehicles.
The license applies to the company's computer-chip division for three vehicle types and seven drivers. Samsung is joined by almost 40 other companies, including Tesla, Ford, GM and Apple that have been awarded licenses to test self-driving car technology in California.
The development of connected and autonomous vehicle technology is gaining speed, but regulations are struggling to keep up. A bill passed in the House today — the largest attempt at regulating the technology yet — aims to provide a national framework that is sensitive to automakers' research and development needs.
The current system of state-based standards includes conflicting requirements and can make implementing new technology challenging for the national companies that are throwing their resources behind its development. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is expected to announce an update next week to Obama-era guidelines for the development of self-driving cars, Reuters reported. That change has the support of the auto industry, which has criticized the current regulatory environment for limiting its members' ability to push forward with the technology.
The House bill passed today intends to speed up the deployment of autonomous vehicles and allow cars on the road without a human override. Most importantly, it gives federal rules precedence over many state ones where CAV development is concerned. The measure now faces discussion in the Senate, where a bipartisan group of lawmakers is at work on similar legislation.
Meanwhile states and the private sector are continuing to push for CAV development. In addition to California, states including Florida, Michigan and Georgia are devoting resources to testing CAV. Florida, especially, has been bullish in its attempts to press forward with smart vehicles and highway infrastructure.
Florida, as one example, started construction this summer on a 400-acre test track that will experiment with high-speed toll technology and vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. A separate pilot program in Tampa, FL, is commissioning roughly 1,600 private vehicles, 10 city buses and 10 streetcars to be outfitted with connected vehicle technology in the hopes of helping the region better prepare for more widespread use.
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