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Video: DOT Seeks $4 billion for Autonomous Vehicles, Tesla Curbs Hands-Free Steering Feature, and more!

19 January 2016

DOT Seeks $4 billion for Autonomous Vehicles

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced a 10-year, nearly $4 billion investment to accelerate the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx made the announcement at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Foxx said that the DOT is also working to remove potential roadblocks to the integration of innovative, transformational automotive technology that can "significantly improve safety, mobility and sustainability." The budget proposal, which needs congressional approval, would provide nearly $4 billion over 10 years for pilot programs to test connected vehicle systems in designated corridors throughout the country, and work with industry leaders to develop a common multistate framework for connected and autonomous vehicles.

Tesla Curbs Hands-Free Steering Feature

Tesla has updated the software for its Model S vehicle to put curbs on the hands-free steering feature that it unveiled in October. Autosteer is now restricted on residential roads and roads without a center divider, Tesla notified owners in its Version 7.1 release notes. When entering a residential road or one without a center divider, the Model S will reduce its speed if necessary, even if the driver increases the cruise control set speed. Since beta testing of the Autosteer function began in October, some Tesla drivers have posted videos online showing erratic driving by the hands-free system. Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly has acknowledged seeing such videos, but does not concede the software is responsible.

Engineers Probe Cause of Canadian Bridge Failure

Engineers are investigating what caused a newly constructed bridge to fail. The span carries the Trans-Canada Highway over the Nipigon River in Ontario. A section of the roadway lifted during windy conditions, subsequently resettling some two feet above an adjoining section. The failure closed the bridge until the province's Ministry of Transportation authorized its partial reopening the next day. Until it can be repaired, only one lane of the bridge is open to traffic. A link connecting Canada's eastern and western provinces, the bridge's partial closure has forced trucking companies to seek U.S. routes.

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