Silicon Valley wants to make another trillion dollars.

We made a trillion dollars building the Internet.  We made one
building personal computers.  We made a trillion dollars each building software, workstations, and mainframe computers.  It is what we do.  And the breakthroughs and technologies invented in Silicon Valley power this nation.

Now we can make another trillion dollars building self-driving vehicles, cars that do not crash. 

The primary hold-ups are legal, not technical.  It is within the range of our technical ability, as evidenced by the DARPA Grand Challenge.  Stanford University's vehicle won the first milestone in 2005, driving seven miles without a driver.   Stanford University's vehicle placed second in the 2007 competition to drive in traffic, avoiding pedestrians and other vehicles, while obeying all California driving laws.  We can engineer the technology to build a car that drives safely on existing roads.

We need your help to create a legal framework for these vehicles, to provide responsiveness from regulatory agencies, and to encourage development.  

Almost everyone supports the benefits of self-driving cars; including  start-up companies based in Silicon Valley, those touched by the 40,000 American deaths each year from accidents, and my six year old who is in more danger of dying from automobiles than anything else.  The technology to build a car that drives on existing roads safely requires work.  But the underlying technology is here already.  The primary hold-ups are legal, not technical.

Specifically, here is what Silicon Valley and the automobile industry needs from the government:

One licensed driver in 5,000 currently dies from car accidents every year.   If an American company save the lives of most of those drivers, it should not be destroyed by the variability of the court system.

We ask you to do your part in creating a new framework and creating a legacy for the future.   All of the benefits of auto-driving cars are huge:  employment, exports, technical leadership, and, of course, lives.   Crashes are the result of human error, and we hope make money to saving 40,000 American lives each year.

Charles Merriam       
1328 Payette Court, San Jose, CA  95129               
Engineer/Entrepreneur, 408.368.6050