MobilityTalks 2.0 on Capitol Hill Wed., Jan. 25 It depends what the regulators do

MobilityTalks 2.0 on Capitol Hill Wed., Jan. 25 –It depends what the regulators doĔ

Continuing the topic of connected and autonomous cars, the second day of Mobility Talks International at the 2017 Washington Auto Show moved to the Russell Senate Office Kennedy Caucus Room on Wed., Jan. 25 for a spirited discussion of the question, –It depends on what the regulators do.” The panel– headed up by Congressional Auto Caucus leader Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich) and moderated by David Shepardson, Washington bureau chief for Detroit News and Reuters correspondent — covered the buy-in of major auto producing nations to connected and autonomous cars along with transportation system challenges with implementation.

Joining Rep. Dingell on the panel were four other creditable industry commentators: Harry Lightsey of General Motors tasked with developing a global approach to trend-setting high technologies; John Maddox, CEO of American Center for Mobility, focusing on automated and connected vehicle testing; Gary Shapiro, CEO, Consumer Technology Association; and Ian Yarnold of the International Standards Division of Great Britainês Department of Transport.

As is the case with any new and important technological advance in transportation, the shape of the regulatory structure required for implementation is a principal, up-front issue. More specifically, what road and highway infrastructure will be needed to make autonomous vehicles a reality and how will they be connected?

And with regular drivers still all over on the road for the foreseeable future, how will autonomous cars interact with them and do so safely?

In the U.S., of course, this is an issue for Congress and the federal agencies, which Rep. Dingell is looking to see through, along with the other 58 members of the Auto Caucus in the House of Representatives.

Lightsey from General Motors emphasized that the technology for autonomous vehicles is well in hand, with the question being: –Are automotive consumers ready for it?” Since consumer demand ultimately is what drives the market, it remains a foremost consideration. Gary Shapiro spotlighted the ever burgeoning nexus between high technology electronics and automobiles, suggesting this could be a consumer demand enhancer.

John Maddox then focused the panel on the question,–what will the regulators do?” by introducing the safety factor into the conversation suggesting autonomous vehicles will only come into their own when the safety concerns have been sufficiently addressed so that traffic accident injuries are mitigated by the new technology, not made worse.

Ian Yarnold, from the UKês Department of Transport agreed that the safety factor cannot be ignored, suggesting that the global character of todayês auto industry should have a positive impact on bringing autonomous vehicles to the center of the automotive world because nations working together will focus on safety.

All things considered, the panel concurred that autonomous technology is new and exciting , but will only be implemented after taking many important factors into account, a significant one being its develepment along side standard automotive technology that includes, for better or worse, human drivers.

With autonomous vehicles in mind, Yarnold said that helpful design improvements have already made their way into the fleet, to include electronic stability control and braking assistance that assuredly will make cars safer and new technology like autonomous cars more appealing to consumers.

Participants in the two days of MobilityTalks, Jan 24-25, were offered, and many enjoyed, ride and drive oppertunities sponsored by OEMs, offsite at RFK Stadium in DC. These ride and drives included up-close demonstrations of various traffic safety high technologies which reportedly where well received by the participants.

Both days of MobilityTalks, Jan. 24-25, was generously sponsored by Enterprise Rent-A-Car; The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), Starship Technologies, and The Hill, all which the Washington Auto Show greatly appreciates!

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