More than 100 stakeholders press Senate for action on driverless car bill

More than 100 stakeholders press Senate for action on driverless car bill
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More than 100 companies on Monday pressed the Senate to pass its driverless car legislation before Memorial Day, as the bill remains stalled in the upper chamber.

The group of stakeholders, in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellJon Stewart rips into McConnell for saying he's 'bent out of shape' over 9/11 victim fund Jon Stewart rips into McConnell for saying he's 'bent out of shape' over 9/11 victim fund Tensions with Iran reach new stage over uranium threat MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerEx-state senator in North Carolina enters race against Tillis Ex-state senator in North Carolina enters race against Tillis Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw MORE (D-N.Y.), urged the lawmakers to expedite the American Vision for Safer Transportation Through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act.

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“While there are a number of compelling reasons to expedite Senate floor consideration of the AV START Act, the most important factor is the potential lives that could be saved,” the letter reads.

Companies that signed the letter include various automobile manufacturers, such as Volkswagen Group of America, Tesla, Toyota, Nissan North America, General Motors and Ford Motor Company. The ride-share applications Lyft and Via are also signatories.

“[W]e believe this legislation will garner overwhelming bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate. With your help, the Senate and House legislative proposals can be reconciled to enable a final bill to be presented to the President for his signature later this year,” the companies write.

The legislation, which would speed up the development and testing of autonomous vehicles, unanimously passed through the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee last year, but has since been stuck in the Senate. The House last year passed a companion bill. 

The letter calls on McConnell and Schumer to work with Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneHillicon Valley: GOP senator wants one agency to run tech probes | Huawei expects to lose B in sales from US ban | Self-driving car bill faces tough road ahead | Elon Musk tweets that he 'deleted' his Twitter account Hillicon Valley: GOP senator wants one agency to run tech probes | Huawei expects to lose B in sales from US ban | Self-driving car bill faces tough road ahead | Elon Musk tweets that he 'deleted' his Twitter account New push to regulate self-driving cars faces tough road MORE (R-S.D.), ranking member Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonHow Jim Bridenstine recruited an old enemy to advise NASA Republicans amp up attacks on Tlaib's Holocaust comments The muscle for digital payment MORE (D-Fla.) and Sen. Gary PetersGary Charles PetersHillicon Valley: GOP senator wants one agency to run tech probes | Huawei expects to lose B in sales from US ban | Self-driving car bill faces tough road ahead | Elon Musk tweets that he 'deleted' his Twitter account Hillicon Valley: GOP senator wants one agency to run tech probes | Huawei expects to lose B in sales from US ban | Self-driving car bill faces tough road ahead | Elon Musk tweets that he 'deleted' his Twitter account New push to regulate self-driving cars faces tough road MORE (D-Mich.) to move the legislation for a floor vote. 

Thune in January touted the bill at the Washington Auto Show, but acknowledged lawmakers still had differences to work through. 

“We have a couple of objections that we have to try to and deal with, but over the last year we have worked with 200 stakeholders who are affected by [autonomous vehicles],” Thune said at the time.