Report indicates skepticism from President Trump on self-driving vehicles

The president's views appear to contrast with Secretary Chao's on the implemenation of autonomous vehicle tech

March 20, 2019
autonomous vehicles

President Trump has expressed skepticism on multiple occasions about the shift toward autonomous vehicles (AVs), according to an Axios report.

The media outlet cited four sources who have heard the president discuss the subject. The report indicates that Trump has said he would never let an AV drive him around, declaring he believes the autonomous vehicle revolution is "crazy".

The Axios report details stories from sources who say Trump has acted out hypothetical situations where a self-drving car loses control and crashes. Sources told Axios the president does not think self-driving cars make sense and that they "will never work." Other accounts detail a conversation Trump had with Elon Musk where he told the tech entrepreneur that he preferred traditional cars. 

Trump's reported sentiments are not uncommon, as a recent survey conducted by AAA found that 71% of U.S. drivers are afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle. This can at least be partially attributed to several high-profile accidents involving AVs.

In contrast to the president's skepticism on AVs, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has actively promoted the adoption of such technology, recently announcing a new regulatory body to speed up the process of implementation for hyperloop tunnels and self-driving cars. A few months ago, the U.S. DOT released updated federal guidance on AVs, and Chao has touted the possibility of the technology increasing mobility and reducing traffic fatalities. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced not too long ago that it was working to speed up the process to review and approve AV petitions for automakers.

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Source: Axios

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