- Four sources told the news website Axios that President Donald Trump had a deep mistrust of driverless cars.
- Trump sometimes imagines scenes in which the cars veer out of control, Axios said.
- As Axios noted, Trump’s administration has largely taken a “hands-off approach” to regulating the rapidly changing self-driving technology, but one source reportedly said Trump could be spurred into action to make the regulatory landscape much tougher for autonomous vehicles.
President Donald Trump is not a fan of driverless cars, according to a new report from Axios.
Four sources told Axios that they’d heard Trump express doubts about autonomous vehicles and that Trump sometimes acted out scenes in which the vehicles veered out of control.
“You know when he’s telling a story, and he does the hand motions,” one source who’d seen Trump enact such a scene told Axios. “He says, ‘Can you imagine, you’re sitting in the back seat and all of a sudden this car is zigzagging around the corner and you can’t stop the f—ing thing?'”
Another source described the president as an “automated-car sceptic,” while Axios said he had also described the technology as “crazy.”
A third source had heard Trump discussing the topic at his golf club in 2017. Another club member said he was excited because he’d bought a new Tesla and Trump replied: “Yeah that’s cool, but I would never get in a self-driving car … I don’t trust some computer to drive me around.”
The president reportedly also told Elon Musk during a 2017 White House meeting with CEOs that he preferred traditional cars over those using Tesla’s Autopilot feature.
As Axios noted, Trump’s administration has largely taken a “hands-off approach” to regulating the rapidly changing self-driving technology. Recently at the South by Southwest festival, Trump’s transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, announced the launch of a new council to support “emerging transportation technology,” including autonomous vehicles.
A source told Axios, however, that Trump could be persuaded to make the regulatory landscape for autonomous vehicles more hostile, as, the person said, he already calls them “out-of-control death traps.”
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