The Chairman Has No Driver!

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster plans to take a spin in futuristic vehicle.

Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa.
National Journal
Fawn Johnson
Add to Briefcase
Fawn Johnson
Sept. 2, 2013, 8:12 a.m.

Wed­nes­day could be a very in­ter­est­ing day for House Trans­port­a­tion and In­fra­struc­ture Com­mit­tee Chair­man Bill Shuster, R-Pa. He is tak­ing a 30-mile ride in a car that drives it­self. The route from sub­urb­an Cran­berry, Pa., to Pitt­s­burgh In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port in­cludes mul­tiple in­ter­sec­tions, low-speed single-lane roads, and high-speed high­way traffic with com­plex traffic lights.

How is this pos­sible? Through a driver­less car be­ing de­veloped at Carne­gie Mel­lon Uni­versity. Shuster prob­ably wants one, con­sid­er­ing that he has to make the drive from Wash­ing­ton to his ho­met­own of Hol­l­i­days­burg, Pa., at least once a week. (He says it’s two hours and 40 minutes with no traffic.)

But, of course, Shuster may re­think the whole driver­less concept when he sees the gi­ant “Emer­gency Stop” red but­ton where the car ra­dio should be. He shouldn’t worry, though. A “dul­cet fe­male voice” will tell him ex­actly what is go­ing on, ac­cord­ing to a de­scrip­tion of the car from the Pitt­s­burgh Post-Gaz­ette.

Shuster will be rid­ing with Barry Schoch, Pennsylvania’s trans­port­a­tion sec­ret­ary, to high­light the need to main­tain in­nov­a­tion in trans­port­a­tion in the United States. That’s a noble goal for the trans­port­a­tion guru of Con­gress to ex­press. But at the press con­fer­ence af­ter­ward, ex­pect most of the ques­tions to go to the en­gin­eers who de­signed the car at the CMU-Gen­er­al Mo­tors Autonom­ous Driv­ing Col­lab­or­at­ive Re­search Lab. Does it honk in traffic? Can it par­al­lel park? When can I get one?

The cur­rent ver­sion is a 2011 Ca­dillac SRX equipped with four com­puters, mul­tiple sensors, radars, lasers, and of course GPS. The en­gin­eers say 90 per­cent of all car ac­ci­dents are caused by hu­man er­ror, such as dis­trac­ted driv­ing, sleep­i­ness, or drunk­en­ness. Don’t for­get just plain stu­pid­ity. A car that drives it­self, pre­sum­ably, has noth­ing bet­ter to do than get you to your des­tin­a­tion while you text your sweetie or put on your makeup.

Of course, it’s prob­ably go­ing to be 10 years or more be­fore such vehicles are avail­able com­mer­cially. But we can only dream.

There’s no word yet on wheth­er Shuster will be in the driver’s seat or rid­ing shot­gun.

What We're Following See More »
TRUMP’S ATTORNEY WAS SET TO TESTIFY ON WEDNESDAY
Senate Intel Postpones Testimony by Cohen
2 days ago
THE LATEST
AMENDMENT WOULD HAVE PREVENTED CONSIDERATION
Senate Rejects Effort to Nix SALT Tax Changes
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Senate Democrats on Thursday failed in their first attempt to save the state and local tax deduction, which helps many residents of California and other high-cost states reduce their federal income tax bills. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul."

Source:
INTERVIEWED BY COMMITTEE STAFF
Lewandowski Meets with Senate Intelligence Committee
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appeared on Capitol Hill for a closed-door interview with the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. Lewandowski is the latest senior official in Trump's orbit who has met with the committee as part of its investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign."

Source:
FISHING EXPEDITION
Some Members Seek to Wrap Up Russia Investigations by Year’s End
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"A growing number of key Republicans are sending this message to the leaders of the congressional committees investigating potential Trump campaign collusion with the Russians: Wrap it up soon. In the House and Senate, several Republicans who sit on key committees are starting to grumble that the investigations have spanned the better part of the past nine months, contending that the Democratic push to extend the investigation well into next year could amount to a fishing expedition."

Source:
WROTE LAW THAT WEAKENED OPIOID OVERSIGHT
Trump: Marino Withdrawing Nomination for Drug Czar
5 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login