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Paul Sancya / AP

Traditional carmakers and Silicon Valley startups told Congress on Tuesday why they're worried about policies that could limit the nascent market for self-driving cars:

  • They say regulations shouldn't tie them down to one type of technology. "We wouldn't want to see government taking steps specify specific technology or a specific solution," said Mike Ableson, a General Motors executive.
  • They want congressional action to be carefully calibrated. "We would not like Congress to engage in traditional rulemaking because that would stifle development," said Volvo's Anders Karrberg. Joseph Okpaku, of Lyft, warned of "even ... the most well intended law inadvertently precluding or restricting potential innovation to make this technology even safer."

Why it matters: The success self-driving car plays at Alphabet and Uber, not to mention Detroit's automakers, is intimately tied to policymakers' handling of the new technology. The Obama administration released the first-ever guidelines for autonomous cars last year.What's next: Companies developing self-driving cars may have concerns about certain type of federal action, but they still are supportive of moves that help them avoid a patchwork of state laws. Key lawmakers in both houses of Congress say they want to examine ways to encourage the development of self-driving technology.

Go deeper

UN poll: Most see climate change as global emergency amid pandemic

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (C) fronts a Fridays For Future protest at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm in September. Photo: Jonathan Nacksrtrand/AFP via Getty Images

64% of people from around the world say climate change is a global emergency, a United Nations poll published Wednesday finds.

Why it matters: It's biggest global survey on climate change ever conducted, with some 1.2 million participants from 50 countries — including the U.S. where 65% of those surveyed view climate change as an emergency.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.