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ATA’s Spear to serve on autonomous vehicle steering committee

American Trucking Association President and CEO Chris Spear will sit on a newly established U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) committee aimed at the guiding the emergence and deployment of autonomous vehicle technologies.

Spear says, while he believes large-scale use of autonomous trucks is years away, the policy framework that will govern them is being debated and written now.

“Trucking is vital to the U.S. economy and an important part of our transportation system, so it is imperative that trucking and this association have a seat at the table when it comes to issues like autonomous vehicles, and we will be driving that outcome,” he says.

The 25-person Committee on Automation, co-chaired by General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, will meet Jan. 16 in the culmination of the DOT’s effort to establish a new advisory committee that will focus on automation across a number of modes of transportation.

“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,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says. ”This new automation committee will work to advance life-saving innovations while boosting our economy and making our transportation network more fair, reliable and efficient.”

House panel: Self-driving vehicles could be 10-20 years away, policy should promote development

A congressional subcommittee heard testimony Nov. 19 that self-driving vehicles are years away for consumers, but lawmakers should begin shaping policy to encourage this technology.

The committee will focus its attention on development and deployment of automated vehicles, and determining the needs of the DOT as it continues with relevant research, policy, and regulations.

The DOT says this committee will play a critical role in sharing best practices, challenges, and opportunities in automation, and will open lines of communication so stakeholders can learn and adapt based on feedback from each other.

Other committee members include vice-chair Dr. J. Chris Gerdes, a professor of engineering at Stanford University; FedEx Corporate Vice President, Operations & Service Support Gloria Boyland; Zipcar co-founder Robin Chase; Hyperloop One Senior Vice President of Systems Development, Douglas Chey; Henry Claypool, policy director for Community Living Policy Center; Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett; Mary “Missy” Cummings, director of Duke University’s Humans and Autonomy Lab at the Pratt School of Engineering; Dean Garfield, president and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council; Delphi Automotive Vice President of Engineering & Program Management, Mary Gustanski; National Safety Council President and CEO, Debbie Hersman; Rachel Holt, Uber’s regional general manager for the U.S. and Canada; Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives; Zoox co-founder and CEO Tim Kentley-Klay; Waymo CEO John Krafcik; Gerry Murphy, Amazon’s senior corporate counsel, Aviation; Robert Reich, the University of California-Berkeley Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, in the Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy; Zipline International, CEO Keller Rinaudo; Safety Reliability Methods, Inc., founder and CEO, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger; Bryant Walker Smith- an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina’s School of Law and School of Engineering; State Farm Insurance Operations Vice President, Jack Weekes; Transportation Trades Department President, Ed Wytkind; and Lyft co-founder and President, John Zimmer.

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Jason Cannon is the Equipment Editor for Commercial Carrier Journal and Overdrive, and is a Class A CDL holder. Reach him at jasoncannon@randallreilly.com.