Updated Jun 7, 2023 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on the U.S. autonomous vehicle industry

On Wednesday, June 7 in Washington, D.C., Axios transportation correspondent Joann Muller and business reporter Nathan Bomey hosted conversations exploring the growth of the American autonomous vehicle industry. Guests included Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio), and National Disability Institute director of health equity Elizabeth Layman. A View from the Top sponsored segment featured Cruise chief legal and policy officer Jeff Bleich.

Rep. Bob Latta discussed how driver safety is informing congressional efforts to accelerate autonomous vehicle regulation.

  • On rising deaths from traffic accidents due to driver error: “So when we think about autonomous vehicles, also on the safety end, when we think about right now that over 43,000 people died in traffic accidents in this country in the last year, unfortunately, the problem is it’s not going down, it’s going up. 94% of all the accidents that are caused out there are driver error…by having these vehicles, we will have it much safer for drivers out there.”

Sen. Gary Peters highlighted strong U.S. ambitions to lead in developing the technologies needed to support the growth of a domestic autonomous vehicle industry.

  • On competition to be a leader in the future of mobility: “From a competitive standpoint, there’s no question that it is absolutely essential that this technology get developed here and deployed here in the United States. We’re facing significant international competition from other countries that understand that autonomy represents the future of mobility, not only the future of mobility, but it drives other technologies in a significant way.”

Elizabeth Layman explained how autonomous vehicles could expand job prospects for people with disabilities in providing more options for transportation.

  • On a recent National Disability Research report studying the impacts of AVs for people with disabilities: “If AVs were adopted by people with disabilities nationwide, we could have 4.4 million more jobs for people with disabilities, and 9.2 million jobs altogether to support those additional jobs. And it would increase GDP $870 billion, with a B, in that first year, and $1.6 trillion increase for output.”

In the View from the Top segment, Jeff Bleich shared the industry’s need for guidance from regulators and policymakers on the path forward for development of autonomous vehicles.

  • “What we really need is a well-developed path to developing purpose built vehicles. And I also think we need a recognition that this is not just about one industry. It’s really a global competition over who is going to dominate the automotive industry. It’s going to be a competition over the deployment of AI…this is something that we all depend on. It’s essential. We can’t operate in this society without being able to get from place to place.”

Thank you to Cruise for sponsoring this event.

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