The US Senate has approved Elaine Chao to become the next secretary of transportation.
This means she will be in charge of the department at something of a crossroads in motoring history, with autonomous vehicles accelerating their way onto public roads faster than many had predicted, and with the steady growth of intelligent transport systems.
Chao – who has extensive links to the communist Chinese government – was approved by the Senate by a vote of 93 to 6 earlier this week.
The US Transportation Department has a budget of $75 billion a year and approximately 60,000 employees.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers welcome the appointment, saying “autonomous vehicles to safety to fuel efficiency to infrastructure, Secretary Chao’s leadership will profoundly impact our sector and many others”.
Wired said Chao was “pretty down with self-driving cars”, suggesting that she might be “hip with it”. Which, in turn, suggests that autonomous cars could be on public roads in no time at all.