In the Obama Administration’s latest welfare for Silicon Valley billionaires, the President intends to ask Congress for $4 billion in federal subsidies and nationalization of transportation safety regulations in an effort to speed the deployment of driverless cars.
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, surrounded by about a dozen auto and Silicon Valley tech leaders, announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that the U.S. Department of Transportation Agency intends to remove “potential roadblocks to the integration of innovative, transformational automotive technology that can significantly improve safety, mobility, and sustainability.” These code words mean driverless regulatory design is being turned over to Silicon Valley.
Fox also released a statement that details President Obama’s request for the 2017 budget to steer about $400 million in each of the next 10 years to “test pilot programs to test connected vehicle systems in designated corridors throughout the country, and work with industry leaders to ensure a common multi-state framework for connected and autonomous vehicles.” These code words mean big subsidies flowing to Silicon Valley.
There is nothing new about the concept of self-driving “autonomous vehicle automation.” For decades, robot vehicles have been transporting materials in factories and gigantic Caterpillar 100-ton computer-guided dump trucks have transported ore around mine sites. Closed-loop transportation ecosystems are easy to program and a central controller can usually be positioned in a tower above the worksite to visually maintain control.
Although the coming appearance of driverless vehicles on congested freeways will pose technical, social, and political hurdles interfacing with “legacy” human operators; Apple, Mercedes-Benz, Google, Tesla, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Volkswagen and four other huge corporations along a 12-mile-stretch in the heart of Silicon Valley between Santa Clara and Stanford University’s campus have already developed and have permission from the State of California permission to test the vehicles on public roads.
Breitbart News reported from the November “Connected Car Expo” at Los Angeles Car and Truck Show that Mercedes-Benz believes driverless vehicle operations are the first major disruptive technology in transportation since the automatic transmission. Mercedes envisions that as the technology rolls out between 2020 to 2030, it will radically reshape productivity, transportation, urban planning and work.
Each of the multi-billion-dollar Silicon Valley “players” in driverless vehicles do not need subsidies because they all have virtually unlimited access to capital to fund profitable disruptive business opportunities that radically reshape “productivity and transportation.”
But, although driverless cars have the potential of wiping out most Teamsters union members’ jobs, the Obama Administration and its progressive “fellow travelers” see the coming disruptive technology from “autonomous vehicles” as an epic opportunity to radically reshape “urban planning and work” into their collectivist vision of the future.
Austrian economist Friedrich A. Hayek in 1945 just weeks after the end of World War II at a time collectivizing urban planning and work appeared to be the “wave of the future” warned in a speech titled, “Individualism: True and False,” that the true and essential foundation for any society wishing to preserve human liberty and assure economic prosperity was a rightly understood philosophy of individualism and the “The more the STATE plans, the more difficult planning becomes for the INDIVIDUAL.”
Hayek would win the Nobel Prize for Economics 30 years later after the extent of the communist central planning of Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse-tung resulted in horrific crimes and economic failures became widely understood.
Mark Rosekind as National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) leader stated in his release that self-driving vehicles “can eliminate 94 percent of fatal crashes involving human error” as justification for the Administration’s dramatic move.
But if vehicles were truly “self-driving,” Rosekind could be “technically” correct by claiming that 100 percent of fatal crashes caused by “human error” would be eliminated with self-driving vehicles. NHTSA is trying to define-away the type of human software designer errors that result in regular personal computer crashes as not “human error.”
The real objective of the Obama Administrations’ effort to nationalize driverless vehicle regulation is to give Silicon Valley the ability to avoid state-by-state regulatory control.
A good example that highlights the risks associated with self-driving cars is Tesla’s August launch of “Autopilot”. Although the NHTSA never came out with any statements of concern when videos showed Tesla drivers pulling stunts that could cause mass fatalities–like setting the car on Autopilot and then climbing over to the backseat and playing video games, state government transportation regulators started panicking.
The Obama Administration sees driverless cars as an opportunity for central planning to eliminate the freedom of movement associated of individual operation of personal cars. The Administration’s goal is a disruptive future where a few Silicon Valley companies, like “Uber,” that act like a form of nationally regulated public transportation.