WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A landmark U.S. bill that would speed adoption of self-driving cars is now “a long shot” to pass before the current Congress adjourns in the coming weeks, a key Republican senator behind the legislation said.
FILE PHOTO – An AutonomouStuff Automated Research Development Vehicle drives on the race track during a self-racing cars event at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, California, U.S., April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Many automaker lobbyists and congressional aides say the bill would face even tougher odds in 2019 when Democrats and Republicans will share control of Congress.
Some Democrats and safety advocates say the bill does not do enough to ensure the safety of self-driving cars and threatens the ability of states to oversee autonomous vehicles. Supporters of autonomous vehicles, who say they can save lives, believe the bill is needed to speed their adoption and overcome regulatory barriers that were written for human-driven vehicles.
“It’s a long shot but we have successfully knocked down a lot of the barriers,” Senator John Thune, who chairs the Commerce Committee, said in an interview in his Capitol Hill office late Tuesday. “It seems like every time we clear one they put another one up.”
Thune and other senators are trying to clear objections from some remaining Democratic senators. One issue that has emerged in recent days is whether automakers would agree to a five- to seven-year sunset clause that would require Congress to revisit self-driving car laws in the 2020s.
Staff for Thune and Democratic Senator Gary Peters earlier this month circulated a draft of a revised bill aimed at breaking a legislative stalemate. Peters said in a statement Wednesday he was “focused on finding areas of agreement with our colleagues and getting a bill signed into law before we adjourn at the end of the year.”
Thune said negotiations have been taking place in recent days with staff for a handful of Democratic senators who have raised some safety concerns. “If we can demonstrate that we have the votes to pass something here, we can get the House on board,” Thune said.
He added that while the measure was still “alive. it’s not real alive.”
The pair have been working for more than a year to try to win approval of the bill by the Senate.
Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a group representing major automakers said Wednesday, “Without legislation from Congress, lots of important work that would benefit Americans slows down… We will keep pushing for legislation to pass.”
The Republican-led U.S. House unanimously approved a measure in September 2017, but it has been stalled in the Senate for over a year. A Senate bill would allow automakers to each sell up to 80,000 self-driving vehicles annually within three years if they could demonstrate they are as safe as current vehicles.
General Motors Co in January filed a petition with U.S. regulators seeking an exemption to use vehicles without steering wheels as part of a ride-sharing fleet it plans to deploy in 2019 but has receive no decision.
Alphabet Inc’s Waymo unit launched a limited commercial autonomous ride-hailing service in Arizona earlier this month.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Cynthia Osterman
TAIPEI (Reuters) – Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer, on Friday said the U.S. and Chinese governments are engaged in a technology war, not a trade war, describing the spat as the biggest challenge the Taiwanese company is facing.
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Foxconn, the trading name of Hon Hai Precision Industry, is seen on top of the company’s building in Taipei, Taiwan March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo
President Donald Trump on Monday said Washington would hit $ 200 billion of Chinese imports with 10 percent tariffs if Beijing retaliates against his previous announcement to target $ 50 billion in imports. The United States has accused China of stealing U.S. intellectual property, a charge Beijing denies.
“The biggest challenge we’re facing is the U.S.-China trade war. In terms of how we manage and adapt, this is something all our high-level managers are making various plans on,” Chairman Terry Gou said at the company’s annual general meeting.
He did not elaborate on the kind of plans under consideration.
“What they are fighting is not really a trade war, it’s a tech war. A tech war is also a manufacturing war,” he said.
Foxconn is formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd. It employs over a million workers and has clients including Apple Inc.
Analysts have said a Sino-U.S. trade war could disrupt supply chains for the technology and auto industries – sectors heavily reliant on outsourced components such as those supplied by Foxconn – and derail growth for the global economy.
FILE PHOTO: A motorcyclist rides past the logo of Foxconn, the trading name of Hon Hai Precision Industry, in Taipei, Taiwan March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo
The United States and China are Taiwan’s top export markets.
On Wednesday, shareholder adviser Hermes EOS urged Foxconn to provide more details to investors about succession planning for senior executives and consider separating the chairman and chief executive roles.
Gou, who recently celebrated Foxconn’s 30 years of doing business in China, on Friday said he had no plan to retire in the next five years – years which he described as “important”, without elaborating.
Earlier this month, U.S. watchdog China Labor Watch criticized Foxconn for what it described as harsh working conditions. Gou on Friday said issues such as lengthy overtime were products of Chinese law.
For 2018, Gou said it was necessary to be mindful of uncertainties regarding inflation and the pace of interest rate rises, and that China’s economy continues to be affected by “structural adjustments”.
Shares of Foxconn were down 0.7 percent on Friday, in line with the benchmark stock price index.
Reporting by Jess Macy Yu; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Christopher Cushing
Privacy advocates are stepping up their lobbying efforts against the controversial cyber threat information sharing bill currently in Congress after several tech giants indicated their support.
Activist group Fight for the Future criticized Salesforce for supporting legislation which would “grant blanket immunity for American companies to participate in government mass surveillance programs like PRISM, without meaningfully addressing any of the fundamental cyber security problems we face in the U.S.” Accordingly, Fight for the Future said it will abandon the Heroku cloud application platform within the next 90 days and encourages others to follow suit. The letter to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff was posted on the site YouBetrayedUs.org.