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Google, Uber, Lyft and others receive representation in US DoT’s new committee on automation

Google, Waymo, automation
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As beneficial as autonomous, AI driven cars could prove to be in the future — they are probably the stuff of nightmares for transport regulators and officials worldwide. The legalities and the safety concerns involved with allowing a car that has no one in the driver’s seat are huge. Not to mention that it goes against the laws of nature. After all, wasn’t the driver’s seat made so that someone could sit in it? Well, to assist it in shaping the future that will have cars with no drivers, the US Department Of Transport has announced a new official federal committee on automation.

The committee will assist the Department of Transport in everything to do with automated modes of transport. It is not limited to cars and will also oversee the deployment of drones and all such self-guided things. 

Self-driven vehicles and automation has seen a huge surge of interest of late. Every corporation that is able — has the resources and the tech in other words — is also willing to get into self-driving technology. From cab aggregators to car manufacturers to software companies, everyone wants a piece of the self-driving pie. However, the rush to put cars on roads that will also host human driven cars for decades to come can prove to be dangerous.

In situations such as these, the newly formed committee is expected to help the department take well-informed decisions and drive both research as well as policy in the field.

Speaking on the topic, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said,

During my time at the Department, we have fostered some of the most significant technological changes to ever take place in transportation, and we did so while keeping our focus on the safety of the American people. This new automation committee will work to advance life-saving innovations while boosting our economy and making our transportation network more fair, reliable, and efficiency.

The committee includes names from political, research as well as corporate circles. Major companies that have stakes in the matter including Google, Uber, Amazon and Lyft have all received representation in the committee.

  1. Co-Chair: Mary Barra- General Motors, Chairman and CEO
  2. Co-Chair: Eric Garcetti- Mayor of Los Angeles, CA
  3. Vice Chair: Dr. J. Chris Gerdes- Stanford University, Professor of Engineering
  4. Gloria Boyland- FedEx, Corporate Vice President, Operations & Service Support
  5. Robin Chase– Zipcar; Buzzcar; Veniam, Co-founder of Zipcar and Veniam
  6. Douglas Chey– Hyperloop One, Senior Vice President of Systems Development
  7. Henry Claypool- Community Living Policy Center, Policy Director
  8. Mick Cornett- Mayor of Oklahoma City, OK
  9. Mary “Missy” Cummings- Duke University, Director, Humans and Autonomy Lab, Pratt School of Engineering
  10. Dean Garfield- Information Technology Industry Council, President and CEO
  11. Mary Gustanski– Delphi Automotive, Vice President of Engineering & Program Management
  12. Debbie Hersman- National Safety Council, President and CEO
  13. Rachel Holt– Uber, Regional General Manager, United States and Canada
  14. Lisa Jackson– Apple, Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives
  15. Tim Kentley-Klay- Zoox, Co-founder and CEO
  16. John Krafcik– Waymo, CEO
  17. Gerry Murphy- Amazon, Senior Corporate Counsel, Aviation
  18. Robert Reich- University of California, Berkeley, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy
  19. Keller Rinaudo- Zipline International, CEO
  20. Chris Spear- American Trucking Association (ATA), President and CEO
  21. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger- Safety Reliability Methods, Inc., Founder and CEO
  22. Bryant Walker Smith- University of South Carolina, Assistant Professor, School of Law and (by courtesy) School of Engineering
  23. Jack Weekes- State Farm Insurance, Operations Vice President, Innovation Team
  24. Ed Wytkind- President, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO
  25. John Zimmer– Lyft, Co-founder and President
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