VIDEO: Tech on the Hill with Rep. Bob Latta




When Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Latta asked self-driving car innovators recently if, five years ago, they thought their technology would be where it is today, they answered no: they’re actually farther ahead than planned.


That means Congress has to work even faster to help clear barriers to self-driving car deployment this year, Latta told Bloomberg BNA in a recent video interview. The new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee also talked about a repatriation tax and the Energy and Commerce Committee’s role in net neutrality legislation.


Latta said Congress needs to draft autonomous vehicle legislation in the coming months to help prevent an increase in the patchwork of state regulations. Coping with different states’ rules may hinder innovation from companies and deter driver adoption, he said.

"We want to make sure that we work on getting the right legislation in place to help them, not hinder them, because again, this is great technology that's moving forward," Latta told Bloomberg BNA.


Cybersecurity will also be crucial to rolling out self-driving technology, Latta said.


“That’s going to have to be built in, and the companies are looking at that right now,” he said.


Latta is also looking ahead to how the Energy and Commerce Committee will shape net neutrality regulation. The Federal Communications Commission is moving to write less stringent rules than the ones now in place, but Latta said there's a role for Congress as well.

"The agencies can set the rules, but legislation makes it permanent," Latta said.