Making America Great Again

Like JFK’s 1961 challenge to America to send an America safely to the Moon before the end of the decade. The next president should issue a similar challenge to America, to have autonomous vehicles driving on American roads.

My plan to make America Great Again started in 1953, in a Congressional confirmation hearing for Charles Wilson becoming Secretary of Defense. Mr. Wilson said “I cannot conceive of one because for years I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa. The difference did not exist. Our company is too big.” Which was the genesis of the phrase “As goes GM, so goes Amercia”.

Silicon Valley has been the the driving force for new technology and America’s growth engine for the past 20+ years. The hottest technology in the Valley today is driver-less vehicles. Nissan, Mercedes Benz, Audi, BMW, Honda, Toyota, Renault, Ford and GM, Volkswagen, Yutong and Hyundai have invested billions in R&D. Google, Apple, Microsoft and Telsa have invested billions in the software. When these great companies and all their suppliers solve the technology problems of driver-less vehicles there will be problems that will need to be solved in Washington. Now is the time for a leader to issue the challenge to the rest of the country to solve the non-technology problems.

These are problems that could affect people across the country and stand in the way of creation of a wide range of jobs for all Americans

Problems like infrastructure, will centralized monitoring and control centers be needed? New smart roads be needed? Upgrades to current roads? There will be numerous disruptive problems; warehouses, billboards, regional airports, buses, etc.

Legal issues, who is responsible/liable for the vehicle? Licensing issues of the vehicles? Do the current safety laws apply? Performance testing of the vehicle and/or software?

Data and privacy issues need to be addressed, who owns the data? Can a vehicle’s telemetry be collected and shared? Will there need to be standardized interfaces for telemetry?

Thousands of problems will need to be solved which will create millions of jobs outside of Silicon Valley before we get our driver-less vehicles to take us anywhere we want to go.

I believe America can be great again. To get there we need a big idea person in the White House to lead a national challenge that will improve all American’s lives. Rebuilding today’s national transportation system will usher in the next disruptive growth technology. Like Mr. Wilson’s 1950s, as driver less vehicles goes, so goes America.