GM’s Barra promotes AVs to Senate

  • March 20, 2023
  • William Payne

GM chief executive Mary Barra has met with two key members of the US Senate Commerce Commitee as the company pushes for legislation to accelerate deployment of self driving cars across the United States.

The two senators met by Barra are Mary Cantwell, chair of the committee, and Gary Peters, another member of the committee.

GM has petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for permission to deploy 2,500 self driving vehicles annually, which will be built by its self-driving subsidiary Cruise.

The company has an initial aim of getting 5,000 of its self driving vehicles onto US roads.

The US House of Representatives legislated in 2017 to boost adoption of self-driving cars, allowing a greater number of self driving cars that could be deployed with exemptions and banning states from setting limiting standards and regulations. However the bill failed in the Senate.

There is bipartisan support for self driving vehicle legislation in Congress, but there is a division along liberal-conservative lines. Liberal Republicans are among the keenest to promote self driving vehicles alongside the majority of Democrats, especially those from Democrat voting states where development of self driving cars has been focused, such as Michigan, Massachusetts and California.

However, conservative Republicans are more likely to oppose self driving cars. Self driving cars incorporate AI, are typically electric vehicles, and are the products of large corporations, especially major tech companies. For conservative Republicans and their base, these are trends and entities they tend to be suspicious of.