Peters Visits South Korea to Discuss Security Ties, Self-Driving Car Technologies

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), a member of the Senate Armed Services and Commerce, Science and Transportation Committees, today announced that he traveled to South Korea to discuss national security in the region – particularly the threat from North Korea – and transportation issues, including the development of self-driving vehicle technologies.

During his visit, Peters visited the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), received briefings from American and South Korean military officials about challenges on the Korean Peninsula and in the Asia-Pacific Region and discussed ways to bolster security ties between the United States and South Korea.

“North Korea’s activities continue to pose a very serious threat to the United States and our allies in East Asia, and their government has shown time and again that they cannot be trusted,” said Senator Peters, a former Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. “While we should always keep diplomatic options open, North Korea has not halted its nuclear weapons program despite the commitment made at President Trump’s summit with Kim Jong-Un. It is critical that the Trump Administration develop a comprehensive strategy with diplomatic, economic and military elements – including large-scale joint military exercises to maintain our readiness.”

Peters also visited the Korea Automobile Testing & Research Institute (KATRI) and K-City, the South Korean government-designated proving ground for self-driving vehicles. He also visited Hyundai’s research and development center, where he participated in a demonstration of their latest innovations in automotive safety and eco-friendly design.

“From nationally-designated proving grounds to investments in the research and development of lifesaving technologies, the United States has made important progress in the advancement of self-driving cars,” said Senator Peters. “South Korea and other countries are looking to America to chart a course for safe deployment of self-driving cars, and they will turn to competitors like China if we do not act quickly. The United States must show strong global leadership by passing the AV START Act to create a safety oversight framework that can serve as the international model for the future of mobility.”

Along with Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD), Peters has introduced the AV START Act: bipartisan legislation to help advance the testing and development of self-driving cars that could improve mobility, reduce accidents and ensure the United States remains the leader in auto innovation. He also played a critical role in advancing the U.S. Department of Transportation’s competition that designated ten nationally-recognized proving grounds for self-driving car technologies – including the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti. He additionally worked to secure $100 million in legislation passed into law earlier this year for the safe research and development of self-driving vehicle technologies and the federally designated proving grounds.