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Trucking industry, Navistar back U.S. self-driving legislation

Trucking industry, Navistar back U.S. self-driving legislation
From Reuters - September 13, 2017

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. trucking trade group and truck maker Navistar International Corp (NAV.N) urged a U.S. Senate panel on Wednesday to include self-driving commercial trucks in proposed legislation intended to speed autonomous vehicles to market.

The House last week unanimously approved a bill to hasten the use of self-driving cars and bar states from blocking such vehicles that applies only to vehicles under 10,000 pounds (4,536 kg). The Senate is considering a similar draft measure that could include large commercial trucks.

Its important for industry to participate in the creation of advanced driving technologies now, said Navistar Chief Executive Troy Clarke in testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee. Providing clarity on the legislative and regulatory front will allow us, truck manufacturers, to design and validate systems that meet the future needs of our customers.

Technology industry executives and policymakers are grappling with the possible impact of artificial intelligence and robotics on jobs and the economy as well as questions about potential safety issues.

The American Trucking Associations president and CEO Chris Spear said in testimony that it is critical that federal policies developed for this technology include all vehicles that operate on our nations roadways.

Auto industry leaders say 3 million commercial truck jobs could eventually be at risk if self-driving vehicles replaced human drivers.

Spear and Clarke said they do not believe there would be a big near-term impact on jobs.

Large scale displacement of drivers is not likely too happen, especially in the short and medium term, Clarke said.

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