U.S. DOT creates federal committee on automation

| 1/16/2017

As the issue of automated and self-driving vehicles continues to heat up, the federal government is trying to keep up with the fast pace of technology. The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced the government’s latest move addressing automation: a federal advisory committee on automation.

Wasting no time in getting started, the committee held its first meeting on Monday, Jan. 16. Composed of 25 leading professionals and experts in their field, the committee will address issues including development of automated vehicles, deployment of AVs and needs relevant to the DOT’s continued efforts.

Committee members represent a vast range of industries, including auto manufacturers, politicians, professors, safety groups, retail giants, insurance companies and ride-sharing companies.

The new committee members are:

  • Co-Chair: Mary Barra – General Motors, chairman and CEO
  • Co-Chair: Eric Garcetti – mayor of Los Angeles, CA
  • Vice Chair: Dr. J. Chris Gerdes – Stanford University, professor of engineering
  • Gloria Boyland – FedEx, corporate vice president, operations and service support
  • Robin Chase – Zipcar; Buzzcar; Veniam, co-founder of Zipcar and Veniam
  • Douglas Chey – Hyperloop One, senior vice president of systems development
  • Henry Claypool – Community Living Policy Center, policy director
  • Mick Cornett – mayor of Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Mary “Missy” Cummings – Duke University, director, humans and autonomy lab, Pratt School of Engineering
  • Dean Garfield – Information Technology Industry Council, president and CEO
  • Mary Gustanski – Delphi Automotive, vice president of engineering and program management
  • Debbie Hersman – National Safety Council, president and CEO
  • Rachel Holt – Uber, regional general manager, United States and Canada
  • Lisa Jackson – Apple, vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives
  • Tim Kentley-Klay – Zoox, co-founder and CEO
  • John Krafcik – Waymo, CEO
  • Gerry Murphy – Amazon, senior corporate counsel, aviation
  • Robert Reich – University of California, Berkeley, chancellor’s professor of public policy, Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy
  • Keller Rinaudo – Zipline International, CEO
  • Chris Spear – American Trucking Association (ATA), president and CEO
  • Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger – Safety Reliability Methods Inc., founder and CEO
  • Bryant Walker Smith – University of South Carolina, assistant professor, School of Law and (by courtesy) School of Engineering
  • Jack Weekes – State Farm Insurance, operations vice president, innovation team
  • Ed Wytkind – president, transportation trades department, AFL-CIO
  • John Zimmer – Lyft, co-founder and president

Last November, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade held a hearing exploring the issue of self-driving vehicles as part of the Disrupter Series. Alongside Dr. Mark Rosekind, administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, several stakeholders testified about both the dangers of AVs and the need to invest in more research and policies.

Less than a month ago, Uber was under fire when it refused to abide by California self-driving permit laws. Uber claimed that its self-driving cars need human assistance and are not capable of operating without it, exempting them from the permit law. Rachel Holt, Uber’s regional general manager, is on the advisory committee.

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