House reschedules self-driving car hearing

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has rescheduled a hearing on self-driving cars that was cancelled last month in the midst of the federal government shutdown.

The panel will a hearing on “how autonomous vehicles will shape the future of surface transportation" next Tuesday, officials with the panel announced on Wednesday.

House Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) called self-driving cars "the future of transportation" after conducting a test drive earlier this fall.

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"This technology has significant potential to make transportation safer and more efficient," Shuster said in a statement released after his test drive. 

"We have to figure out how to embrace technology, in the way we build our infrastructure, comply with existing and future laws, and ensure the safety of the public," he continued.

Additionally, former House Speaker and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) predicted in a new book that was released this week that self-driving cars will soon become popular in the United States.

Gingrich referred to autonomous cars as "the greatest breakthrough in automobiles since the internal combustion engine."

Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Audi and Volvo have all demonstrated prototype self-driving cars of some capacity, although none seems to have matched Google's performance," the former Speaker wrote. "One thing is certain: now that [Google Vice President Sebastian] Thrun and his fellow pioneers have created the technology, Americans are going to want it — from whatever manufacturer can provide."