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On Friday, April 23, Axios transportation correspondent Joann Muller and business reporter Erica Pandey unpacked autonomous and electric vehicles' role in the future of safe transportation and their potential for social good, featuring Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and San Francisco-Marin Food Bank executive director Tanis Crosby.

Secretary Buttigieg discussed the potential for electric vehicles to reshape American transportation, highlighting the federal government's investment in making them accessible and building out a network of charging stations across the country.

  • On federal support for making electric vehicles accessible and affordable: "Electric vehicles can't be a luxury item if we really want to recognize that they're the future of car transportation and critically position the US to be leading the world in manufacturing them...That does mean taking action to make sure that they are more affordable."
  • On the climate and economic implications of electric vehicles: "It's actually in their areas where people rely on vehicles the most, where they drive the longest distances and therefore spend the greatest amount of money on things like fuel...[where] we actually could have the most to gain. We're definitely continuing to communicate the economic potential as well as the climate potential of this."

Tanis Crosby discussed how autonomous vehicles have helped to expand grocery access to people with mobility issues during the pandemic.

  • On how technology can be leveraged for social good in the non-profit sector: "We are delivering groceries to people with mobility concerns, to people who would otherwise not be able to access service. So it's not just about using technology, it's about leveraging it to drive change."
  • How autonomous vehicles directly helped to meet the food bank's growing need: "Linking autonomous vehicles with the delivery of food...was so pivotal in making real our home delivery grocery program. Before the pandemic, we were helping about 200 households a week, and as a result of the pandemic that surged to upwards of 12,000 households a week."

Axios CEO and co-founder Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with Cruise CEO Dan Ammann, who discussed the wide-ranging positive impact of autonomous vehicles.

  • "Self-driving technology has the opportunity to have a huge positive impact on sustainability...also in terms of accessibility and affordability of transportation, making our streets safer, and enabling everybody to get around."

Thank you Cruise for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Biden officials celebrate infrastructure deal in fuel-cell big rig

White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm celebrated progress on President Biden's infrastructure package by taking a spin in a Kenworth fuel-cell, zero-emissions Class A truck.

What they're saying: "We have a deal, a Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework deal," Granholm said. McCarthy responded: "it's big and it's beautiful."

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Microsoft announced Tuesday it plans to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash.

Why it matters: The move comes as Activision Blizzard has faced a wave of accusations of workplace harassment.

2 hours ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Tony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.