Ernest Moniz is wrapping up his first year as Energy Secretary with some intriguing news for autonomous car enthusiasts—he announced that he will likely be making $16 billion worth of Department of Energy available to companies pursuing driverless vehicle technology. Moniz was in Detroit meeting with auto suppliers, and said “there was discussion about advanced traffic-management systems (and) autonomous driving,” according to the Detroit News.
Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz hinted Thursday that auto suppliers developing driverless-car features could be next in line for more than $16 billion in unspent vehicle technology loan funds. Moniz said in an interview that auto suppliers have expressed renewed interest in the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program. The loans are administered by the Energy Department, but the department hasn’t approved a loan in three years, following the collapse of solar panel start-up Solyndra LLC in 2011. Moniz met Thursday with auto suppliers and said “there was discussion about advanced traffic-management systems (and) autonomous driving.” He said he couldn’t predict which suppliers would seek loans.