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Advancement In Auto Industry Depends On Infrastructure Spending

Mark Doliner
Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Automakers are increasingly investing time and research into creating driverless vehicles, but a Kentucky expert says the new technology could face hurdles if the necessary infrastructure isn’t created.

President Trump and members of Congress have repeatedly tried and failed to make a deal on an infrastructure spending package. According to a report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Kentucky’s roads are improving, but there’s still about six billion dollars’ worth of unfunded projects.

Executive Director of the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association Dave Tatman said a lack of infrastructure investment could stall progress for self-driving cars.

“When you start with the basic fundamental infrastructure issues, autonomous vehicles need good roads,” he told WKU Public Radio.

Tatman said electric vehicles are also changing the face of the auto industry, and more charging stations are needed.

“The pace of technology change is so fast that no one company can keep up with it. No one company can be the General Motors of the 50’s anymore. It’s got to be collaborative. So I think we’ll see a lot more joint ventures and a lot more collaborations.”

While some automakers have teamed up to build and install charging stations across the country, Tatman said the auto industry can’t be expected to pay for all the infrastructure needs of the future.

© 2019 WKU Public Radio

Becca Schimmel is a Becca Schimmel is a multimedia journalist with the Ohio Valley ReSource a collaborative of public radio stations in Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio. She's based out of the WKU Public Radio newsroom in Bowling Green.