The United States is well-positioned to emerge as a global leader in connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), but a new report released today by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the world’s top-ranked science and technology policy think tank, shows that tariffs on automotive imports would threaten its competitive advantage in the automobile industry. The report recommends that, rather than impose tariffs, Congress and the administration should adopt a more robust set of innovation policies to strengthen and secure America’s CAV leadership.
“The automobile industry is moving in a new direction focused increasingly on connected and autonomous vehicles. Because the United States already has a competitive advantage in IT hardware and software, the U.S. auto industry has a significant opportunity to reemerge as a global leader,” said ITIF President Rob Atkinson, lead author of the report. “The goal now should be to continue building on America’s strengths, not to impose tariffs that disrupt the market. In order to leverage America’s competitive advantage, the administration should make sure it is the most attractive location in the world to develop, test, and produce autonomous vehicles.”
The new report offers a series of policy recommendations to ensure America’s continued leadership in CAVs, including: ensuring the U.S. regulatory system tilts toward experimentation, testing, and deployment of AVs, harnessing the tax code to enable AV innovation and competitiveness, ensuring companies in the United States have access to a world-class engineering and computer science workforce and supporting industry cooperative, pre-competitive research and development.
“Autonomous vehicles may still be in early development, but there is little doubt they are the future of transportation,” said Caleb Foote, ITIF research assistant and co-author of the report. “The administration should make the most of this opportunity by ensuring the country’s regulatory and innovation policies related to AVs are the best in the world.”