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Does the Car of the Future Require a "Talking Car" Mandate?

The Competitive Enterprise Institute is hosting an event later today where a proposal to require all new cars in the United States come outfitted with vehicle-to-vehicle communications (V2V) technology that relies on a protocol called dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) will be discussed. The rule was proposed in mid-January 2017. In response, CEI urged Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to temporarily suspend the V2V rulemaking and later submitted comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asking the agency to withdraw its proposed rule. I recently wrote an op-ed summarizing our arguments.

In addition to me, today’s panel event will feature Jonathan M. Gitlin, Automotive Editor of Ars Technica, as moderator, Alex Kreilein, Manager Partner of SecureSet Accelerator, and Joseph Lorenzo Hall, Chief Technologist of the Center for Democracy & Technology. Alex will focus on cybersecurity issues while Joe will discuss the privacy implications. My focus will be on safety regulatory policy, and why I believe the proposed rule is deficient for four reasons.

First, NHTSA failed to consider lower cost alternatives and relied on dubious fiscal assumptions.

Second, NHTSA’s consideration of the secure credential management system was woefully inadequate.

Third, requiring owner consent for software and security certificate updates undermines the mandate’s claimed benefits in ways NHTSA does not consider.

And fourth, NHTSA ignores the negative impact a V2V-DSRC mandate could have on safety-superior vehicle automation systems.

None of this is to say that V2V, or even DSRC, cannot provide benefits. But NHTSA’s current approach is deeply flawed for a number of reasons and we hope this discussion can offer insight on how to usher in vehicle connectivity—and other future safety and mobility technologies—in a more responsible manner.

Update:

Video of the event is available below: