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July 28, 2017 FacebookTwitterFlickrRSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
Inside this issue
House Committee Approves Self-Driving Legislation, Refines Safety Exemptions
On Autonomous Vehicles, Donít Let Feds Grab Power From The States
Trump and GOP Leaders Agree to Drop Border-Adjustment Tax From Reform
Feds Expand Probe Into Ford Explorer Exhaust Fume Leaks
Wells Fargo to Refund $80 Million to Car Loan Customers
Cars Suck Up Data About You. Where Does It All Go?
Women in Automotive Engineering: Girls at Michigan Tech Say "Why Not?"
Top Stories
House Committee Approves Self-Driving Legislation, Refines Safety Exemptions

The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday unanimously approved bipartisan legislation that would for the first time govern the manufacturing, testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles.

The primary amendments from last week's version passed by the Digital Commerce subcommittee are a narrowing of language pre-empting states from regulating design and performance standards, and a four-year phase-in period for automakers seeking exemptions from federal motor vehicle safety standards to deploy test vehicles on public roads.

The bill also represents a compromise to satisfy auto dealers' concerns about franchise laws and how they apply to the sale or servicing of self-driving vehicles.

The bill includes new language requiring automakers to develop plans for protecting consumers' data privacy since autonomous vehicles will collect and transmit massive amounts of data to facilitate safe operation and offer entertainment options for occupants.

Supporters of the Self Drive Act hope to get the legislation on the House's crowded fall schedule for debate on the floor, but it will have to compete with issues such as raising the federal debt ceiling, tax reform and appropriations bills for 2018.
Source: Automotive News

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On Autonomous Vehicles, Donít Let Feds Grab Power From The States

Congress is right to consider pre-empting state or local laws that, in the future, might tinker with safety standards. We can’t have Maine, for example, requiring that all autonomous vehicles be 4x4s, or California requiring that all AVs run on hydrogen.

But at the same time, Congress needs to be careful not to upend our federalist system with an unnecessarily over-broad law – especially in areas where the states do a far better job regulating than the federal government ever could.

There is no reason why a bill designed to clear the way to get AVs up and running should in any way up-end state laws regarding licensing or registration, both of which are responsibly regulated at the state level. Nor should Congress pre-empt how states regulate the sale and service of cars and trucks through motor vehicle franchise laws, which are firmly in the purview of the states. As former Deputy Attorney General Peter Ferrara has noted, these laws exist because local dealerships are prohibited from collectively negotiating their franchise contracts with manufacturers. The governors and legislatures deal with these issues in every legislative session, know what they are doing, and any changes to these laws should come from the states – not impromptu action from Washington.
Source: The Daily Caller

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Trump and GOP Leaders Agree to Drop Border-Adjustment Tax From Reform

The Trump administration and congressional Republican leaders have ditched a controversial border-adjusted tax proposal as part of an effort to present a united front for a broad tax overhaul.

The border tax idea, essentially a consumption tax that exempts profits from exports, was a major part of the plan that House Republican leaders had been pushing for a year. Because it would generate large amounts of money — estimated at more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years — it could help offset deep reductions in the current 35% corporate income tax rate.

Trump has called for a cut to 15%, and the House GOP plan had envisioned a rate of 20%. Without the border adjustment, “we’re going to be more in the 25% level,” said Marc Goldwein, a senior vice president for the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

The statement Thursday may have acknowledged as much in saying that the goal is to reduce tax rates “as much as possible.” Other than dropping the border tax idea, the 594-word statement added little that was new.

In addition, the statement said they would seek to make the tax changes permanent, and it suggested that Republican leaders would try to pass tax-reform legislation through regular congressional committees this fall.
Source: LA Times

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Feds Expand Probe Into Ford Explorer Exhaust Fume Leaks

The U.S. government’s auto safety agency has expanded an investigation into complaints of exhaust fumes inside Ford Explorer SUVs, adding two model years and nearly 400,000 vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday night that the probe now covers more than 1.3 million Explorers from the 2011 through 2017 model years. The agency made the move after finding more than 2,700 complaints of exhaust odors in the passenger compartment and fears of carbon monoxide in an investigation that it started a year ago. Among the complaints were three crashes and 41 injuries, mostly loss of consciousness, nausea and headaches.
Source: AP

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Wells Fargo to Refund $80 Million to Car Loan Customers

Wells Fargo and Co. said it would reimburse about $80 million to 570,000 customers who may have been charged wrongly due to issues related to auto collateral protection insurance (CPI) policies. 

Wells Fargo has been engulfed in scandal since September, when it reached a $190 million settlement with regulators over complaints that its retail banking staff had opened as many as 2.1 million unauthorized client accounts.
Source: Automotive News

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Cars Suck Up Data About You. Where Does It All Go?

Cars have become rolling listening posts. They can track phone calls and texts, log queries to websites, record what radio stations you listen to — even tell you when you are breaking the law by exceeding the speed limit.

Automakers, local governments, retailers, insurers and tech companies are eager to leverage this information, especially as cars transform from computers on wheels into something more like self-driving shuttles. And they want to tap into even more data, including what your car’s video cameras see as you travel down a street.

Who gets what information and for what purposes? Here is a primer.
Source: NYT

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Women in Automotive Engineering: Girls at Michigan Tech Say "Why Not?"

Kaleigh Pare’s dad is a Michigan Tech alumnus and an engineer who recruits for Chrysler. But until she came to the Women in Automotive Engineering program at Michigan Tech, all Kaleigh, 17, knew about cars was how to drive one and change the oil—“with my father’s help.”

This week she’s at a Michigan Tech Summer Youth Program called Women in Automotive Engineering (WIAE), and she’s learning about aerodynamics, suspensions, airbags, hybridization and pollution, controls and calibration, autonomous vehicles. And engines. “I had no idea how many components there are in an engine, how complex they are,” she says.

Kaleigh and her twin sister, Quinn, are both taking WIAE.  So is Aleeha Azhar, only her journey to Michigan Tech took a little longer than Kaleigh and Quinn—who live in Memphis, Michigan, near Port Huron. Aleeha, 16, is from Sialkot, a small industrial city in the northeast Punjab region of Pakistan.  She is one of four students from the Roots International Schools there who are attending Tech’s Summer Youth Programs this week.

Aleeha doesn’t drive, and she says she knew nothing about cars before this week.   Her school offers scholarship program opportunities in the summer, including WIAE. 
Source: NYT

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Quotable
"Bottom line, the purpose of the AV legislation going through congress this week are to make it possible for automakers to build great new technologically advanced autonomous vehicles. That’s the whole point, so Congress should take care to keep the legislation to just that and not upend states’ rights with an overly broad bill that unnecessarily cedes more power to Washington."

    -- George Landrith, President and CEO of the Center for Automotive Freedom and Frontiers of Freedom, The Daily Caller, July 27
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