Transportation Committee Chairman Shuster Takes Trip in Carnegie Mellon University’s Driverless Car

Sep 5, 2013

Washington, DC – Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) witnessed firsthand a demonstration of cutting edge driverless automobile technology, when he rode from suburban Pittsburgh to Pittsburgh International Airport in Carnegie Mellon University’s driverless vehicle. 

Shuster was joined yesterday by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch for the 30-mile trip in the driverless 2011 Cadillac SRX.  The fully automated vehicle safely navigated the route, which included various driving conditions and speeds in traffic on multi-lane and single lane highways, construction zones, traffic signals, and intersections.  Carnegie Mellon University has been a pioneer in the development of driverless automobile technology and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) over the years.

Following the demonstration, Shuster discussed the importance to the economy and transportation safety of the United States remaining a technological innovator in the transportation sector.

“Yesterday’s impressive ride clearly demonstrated that the future of transportation is coming, and we have to continue to be leaders in the field,” Shuster said.  “This technology has significant potential to make transportation safer and more efficient.  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.

“Driverless vehicles have come a long way since 2007, when I saw Carnegie Mellon’s earlier prize-winning version of this type of car,” Shuster said.  “That model was so packed with equipment it couldn’t hold passengers, but today, four of us rode comfortably in a car that safely drove us in various traffic conditions.  In only a few years, we may see driverless vehicles incorporated in the country’s automobile fleet.”

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