Automated vehicle technology holds enormous potential

Automated vehicle technology holds enormous potential

ATA President and CEO Chris Spear testified before a Senate committee in April on the potential of automated truck safety technology, as the committee prepares legislation to regulate the testing & deployment of automated vehicles.

Chris made a case for why autonomous vehicle technology holds enormous potential for the trucking industry, its drivers and the motoring public.

With 94 percent of highway accidents attributed to human error, the successful deployment of AV technology can drastically reduce fatalities on the road. Moreover, the technology can deliver significant returns by reducing traffic congestion, improving driver productivity and decreasing emissions through lower fuel burn.

“Autonomous” does not mean “driverless.” What we are talking about is “driver-assist” technology, he stated.

AV technology has the potential to dramatically expand the skillets of drivers and technicians, making them more marketable across other sectors and industries, and ushering in a new generation of talent for trucking.

In providing recommendations to the Committee and the regulatory agencies it oversees, Chris drove home three major points:

· The federal government must have the sole authority to regulate AV technology. As trucks cross state lines countless times daily, the rules of the road must be the same across the country to maintain interstate commerce and facilitate the free flow of goods.

· Federal agencies must commit to supporting innovation for BOTH commercial and passenger vehicles. We all share the road, and the deployment of autonomous vehicles for both the commercial sector and automotive sector should be seamless.

· Federal agencies must coordinate their missions with respect to automated vehicles. This technology would be significantly enhanced by vehicle connectivity using the 5.9 GHz spectrum, fully unlocking its potential to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion.

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15th April 2019