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Photo: Chuck Kennedy / Axios

Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said safety has to be a key component of new technological advances as they transform U.S. cities.

Why it matters: Citizens' safety is a primary concern as technology marches toward replacing humans in a number of different functions in our cities, such as driving. New attention has been drawn to this this issue by this week's fatal crash involving an autonomous vehicle in Arizona.

When it come to new technologies such as self-driving cars and drones, "We want to embrace it but we also want to put guardrails in place," she said at an Axios event on smart cities Thursday morning. "We build that at the same time we build the infrastructure for this technology."

  • On drones: She is also spearheading the Safe Drones Act in Congress, and Nevada is a drone testing ground. Testing, she said, is key to ensuring drones are developed in a controlled environment so safety protections can be built into that process.
  • Workers matter: Cortez Masto, a former attorney general of Nevada, said workers have to be part of the equation of next-generation cities. Enhanced productivity is one of the major promises of new connected technologies, but they must have access to essential tools, such as broadband, and opportunities to receive the right training.

Go deeper

Former D.C. Guard alleges Army Generals lied about Jan. 6 response

Members of the National Guard and Capitol police keep a small group of pro-Trump demonstrators away from the Capitol following the insurrection on Jan. 6. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A former D.C. National Guard official has alleged that top Army generals "lied" to Congress in their testimony on the U.S. Capitol riot, Politico first reported Monday.

The big picture: Col. Earl Matthews, who was serving on Jan. 6, alleges in a memo that the official version on the military response is "worthy of the best Stalinist or North Korea propagandist" and that the Pentagon inspector general's November report on it features "myriad inaccuracies, false or misleading statements, or examples of faulty analysis."

Toyota to build $1.3 billion U.S. battery plant in North Carolina

The all-electric Toyota bZ4X, the company's first battery-electric vehicle, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 17. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Toyota announced Monday it's investing $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery "megasite" near Greensboro, North Carolina, set to open in 2025.

Why it matters: Toyota's Prius hybrid won environmental plaudits when it launched in 1997, but it has since lost ground to electric vehicle world leader Tesla, per Axios' Joann Muller. This battery plant will be the first to produce automotive batteries for Toyota in North America.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.