6/27/2014

Congress Samples Self-Driving Cars

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More than a dozen members of Congress took rides last week in a driverless vehicle outfitted by Carnegie Mellon University.

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More than a dozen members of Congress took rides last week in a driverless vehicle outfitted by Carnegie Mellon University.

The two-day demonstration coincided with ITS America's annual Transportation Technology Showcase in Washington, D.C. The test rides were championed by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), who heads the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and has been an enthusiastic fan of driverless vehicle technology.

The university's test vehicle is a Cadillac SRX crossover loaded with sensors, cameras and computers. Last autumn the car took Shuster on a 33-mile trip to Pittsburgh's airport.

The Carnegie Mellon project is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation University Transportation Centers program, General Motors Co. and private foundations.

Market analysts IHS Automotive predict 54 million self-driving cars will be on the road worldwide by 2035. The company also forecasts that almost all vehicles will have self-driving capability by 2050.