CNBC: Tesla, Uber draw scrutiny at Senate hearing on self-driving cars

  • Truly self-driving cars are still “several years off” NHTSA acting chief James Owens said at a Senate hearing on the new technology Wednesday.
  • Senator Ed Markey called for NHTSA to take Tesla Autopilot off the road until the company can address predictable abuse of their semi-autonomous systems.
  • Sen. Tom Udall evoked Boeing 737 Max 8 fatal crashes as a harbinger of what could come if NHTSA fails to establish clear rules around testing and deploying self-driving cars.

By Lora Kolodny / CNBC

Several Senators offered sharp criticism of Tesla and Uber during a Commerce Committee hearing on self-driving vehicles on Wednesday.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., who chairs the committee, referenced a fatal crash involving an Uber self-driving test vehicle in his opening majority statement:

“Ms. Elaine Herzberg was tragically struck and killed by an Uber test vehicle while crossing the street. Records show that the vehicle detected Ms. Herzberg’s presence 5.6 seconds before the crash, but failed to brake. It is imperative that manufacturers learn from this incident and prevent similar tragedies from happening again.”