New Committee to Advise U.S. DOT on Autonomous Vehicle Policy

The committee is composed of representatives from local governments, researchers from academia and industry experts.

by / January 11, 2016
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will co-chair the committee. (Photo by David Kidd)

In a world where the reality of autonomous vehicles seems to be nearing day by day, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced the formation of an advisory committee that will help guide policy decisions on automation.

Advisory Committee Members

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

The committee is made up of 25 individuals representing industry, trade groups, academia and local government, and will be co-chaired by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of General Motors. Stanford Engineering Professor Dr. J. Chris Gerdes will serve as vice chair.

"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,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a press release.

The committee is tasked with advising the department on issues regarding automation across several modes including not just cars, but also drones, big-rigs and public transit systems. The goal is for members to share best practices, challenges and opportunities in automation, and to open lines of communication so stakeholders can learn and adapt based on feedback from each other.

The department has made strides as far as reaching out to industry partners in crafting autonomous vehicle regulations. In September 2015, the agency released its suggested framework of how self-driving vehicles should be regulated by the federal and state government. In December, the U.S. DOT issued a proposed rule to make vehicle-to-vehicle communication standard in all light duty vehicles. Both of these moves invited a public comment period and a promise to work with autonomous vehicle manufacturers to get the law right.

The first meeting will take place on Jan. 16, so as to “immediately begin work on some of the most pressing and relevant matters facing transportation today,” according to the release.