Tesla benefited greatly by borrowing $500 million from the U.S. government as part of its Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program. Now companies in the self-driving car business could get a similar boost to the tone of $16 billion.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has made companies making autonomous vehicles eligible for his department's loan program. A loan hasn't been given out in three years, and they traditionally have gone to companies working on electric cars. Although Tesla has been a success story and paid back the loan in full, Solyndra went bankrupt, which caused Republicans to shit on the program and stall it.
Luckily, support for driverless cars is more or less bipartisan. Whoever winds up flush in government dough will be thankful for that.