Technological advancement that changes the way everyday consumers live seems to come in pairs — affordable automobiles and television, the internet and cellphones, autonomous vehicles and ultrafast 5G mobile data networks. And where there’s innovation, regulation tends to follow.
A group of auto manufacturers and tech companies including Intel, BMW, Nokia, and Huawei recently announced the formation of the 5G Automotive Association aimed at speeding the development and adoption of 5G networks by overcoming both technical and regulatory obstacles. Auto manufacturers and mobile companies alike envision a future where autonomous vehicles and 5G networks — which will offer up to 100 times current mobile data speeds — work together to improve safety, efficiency, and in-vehicle entertainment. However, while the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to create a favorable regulatory environment for 5G networks, local governments play a critical role in allowing the technology to revolutionize people’s lives.
It’s a decision governments will have to make since autonomous vehicles and 5G networks are becoming a reality. Currently, 5G networks are still in development. T-Mobile and Ericssonannounced on Sept. 20 that they have reached mobile data speeds of 12 Gbps, which is ridiculously fast. Huawei estimates that the first 5G networks will roll out in limited settings as early as 2018 and reach consumers in 2020.
Interestingly, 2020 is also the year some of the first autonomous vehicles will likely go on sale. Audi, for instance, promises to have a fully autonomous electric Sedan available for sale in 2020. The technologies will grow together since consumers, freed from the demands of driving, will increasingly demand more data at faster speeds. Plus, the vehicles themselves will use the ultrafast networks to communicate with each other and smart infrastructure.
Continue reading at The Hill.
Three numbers: 35,200 people were killed in auto accidents last year; 94 percent of car crashes are due to human error; 613,501 lives have been saved by advances in auto safety over the past 50 years. Thesenumbers form the basis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration head’s argument for autonomous vehicles and a friendly regulatory environment.
Ironically, though, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is also considering premarket approval and post-sale regulations that would restrict the development and improvement of autonomous vehicles even more than “dumb” vehicles, potentially leading to the unnecessary loss of life.
In a speech on Monday at the Automated Vehicles Symposium in San Francisco, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said that his agency’s goal is to create “a framework that will speed the development and deployment of technologies with significant lifesaving potential.” However, the very next day, his agency released the long-promised NHTSA guidelines for autonomous vehicles, proposing two new authorities that would do the exact opposite. These new authorities are only options, and the NHTSA is seeking public comment.
The first proposal, the “Considered New Authority” of premarket approval, would require manufacturers to have their models approved before hitting showrooms for sale — a departure from the current process of self-certification. A premarket approval process, the guidelines say, would help the public accept autonomous vehicles. However, this is a long-term solution to a short-term problem; and this new authority not only goes against Rosekind’s own expressed approach but also the way automobiles are made.
Continue reading at RealClearPolicy.
Recently, there has been a large amount of media attention focused on Donald Trump’s hatred of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This animosity has also been targeted at CEO Mark Fields’ to move parts of Ford’s manufacturing to Mexico. Sadly, logic and fact have taken a backseat in both of these discussions. Clichés from Trump dominate the media scene, including a recent quote highlighted on CNN, “NAFTA has destroyed our country.” This statement is far from the truth. No matter what clichés Trump or any other political candidate throw at NAFTA, the American people should not be fooled: NAFTA allows the U.S. to succeed in attracting higher-paying jobs, which is currently the country’s comparative advantage on the international market.
Trump’s main argument is that NAFTA allows for jobs to easily move from the United States to Mexico, thus hurting the U.S. economy. Trump’s proposed solution includes destroying the NAFTA pact and the implementation of a hefty 35% tax on all imported cars. Not only will Trump’s proposed solution harm the U.S. economy, he also has incorrect premises involving NAFTA. NAFTA encourages some manufacturers to leave the U.S., but this does not necessarily hurt our economy, especially if the U.S. is importing other jobs as well as increasing its consumption and investment through the open trade environment that NAFTA creates. Some honest, hard-working Americans will lose their jobs in the short run, but if a system of free trade is protected, the long-run will produce lower unemployment rates and an increase in the well-being of every consumer.
The law of supply and demand applies to the job market just as strongly as it applies to other economic goods. In the Ford case, the company has a demand for low-paying, unskilled labor, which Mexico can supply with ease. Therefore, it makes sense that Mark Fields would move some of his manufacturing plants to Mexico where Ford can make a larger profit and where workers are willing to work for less. This is one comparative advantage that the working class in Mexico has, the ability to work low-skilled jobs at a cheaper rate. Mexico’s lower cost of living allows for this comparative advantage to exist.
Continue reading at the Liberty Conservative.