The U.S. government plans to spend almost $4 billion over the next 10 years on research into autonomous driving and, as a first step, will come up with a set of model regulations to govern the technology and its use on public roads across the country.

The plan sets the U.S. on a firm path towards the increasing use of self-driving car technology. It’s also an attempt to head off what could become a patchwork of laws that end up hampering research and development.

“Today’s actions and those we will pursue in the coming months will provide the foundation and the path forward for manufacturers, state officials, and consumers to use new technologies and achieve their full safety potential,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

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