smart-car-control-panel-news-blockContinuing our focus on the emerging driverless car economy, it now seems unlikely that federal regulators will attempt to erect roadblocks that might slow the development of smart transportation and highway systems.

Elaine Chao, the president-elect’s choice for secretary of transportation, told senators she’s fine with continuing the government’s hands-off approach to autonomous car and advanced roadway technologies.

This is incredibly good news for hundreds - and possibly thousands - of tech firms that are hoping to develop an ecosystem of new products and services for the first generation of truly driverless cars.

“If you’re working on getting - or simply hoping to see - autonomous vehicles on a road near you, expect calm waters ahead. During a three-hour hearing light on specifics and commitments, Chao signaled that she wants testing and experimentation to continue without much federal intervention,” writes Aarian Marshall

For CIOs and their IT teams, it means doubling down on efforts to master the basics of driverless car information systems. Understanding how those systems work will be absolutely critical, since it’s only a matter of time before the ability to provide seamless interoperability between the enterprise and various automobile-based information systems will be considered essential.

In other words, it won’t be long before executives will expect their driverless cars to offer the same digital functionality as any typical workspace, anywhere in the world.

As I wrote in last week’s column, nobody is quite sure where the driverless car economy is heading, but one thing is certain: CIOs will be held accountable for integrating tomorrow’s cars into tomorrow’s enterprise information systems.

Now is the time to begin thinking about the best ways to integrate car-based information systems and your enterprise information systems. I strongly recommend getting ahead of the curve on this trend, before it accelerates out of your control.