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On Tuesday August 11, Axios Navigate author Joann Muller hosted a conversation on the future of autonomous vehicles and the latest innovations in mobility, featuring Los Angeles Department of Transportation General Manager Seleta Reynolds, American University professional lecturer Selika Josiah Talbott and Mothers Against Drunk Driving National President Helen Witty.

From government regulation and safety to equitable access, the guests unpacked the impact of having autonomous vehicles on city streets.

  • Selika Josiah Talbott on making access to autonomous vehicles equitable: "It's up to the government to step in...we need to make sure that we invest in our communities, whether urban or rural, to make sure this isn't just a toy for the rich, but a way to create equity."
  • Helen Witty on the potential for eliminating drunk driving through driverless cars: We have technology now to save lives today...When we remove driver behavior from cars, that's going to eliminate drunk driving. We love the idea of autonomous vehicles as long as they're deployed safely. "
  • Seleta Reynolds on how automated buses can free up bus drivers to perform community functions like helping passengers with disabilities and de-escalating conflicts: "Those are the kinds of things that I think autonomy can be a pathway to, to actually getting at real problems and retain those really great middle-class jobs that exist for people who are helping folks get around town and navigate our cities."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with
Motional President & CEO Karl Iagnemma who discussed how COVID-19 has affected the automotive industry's approach to developing autonomous vehicles.

  • "Seventy percent of people told us that risk of infection had a significant influence on their transportation decisions...Prior to the pandemic, safety was only about avoiding crashes, and now we understand it's not just about avoiding crashes it's also about minimizing the risk of infection."

Thank you Motional for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Oct 30, 2020 - Economy & Business

How Trump and Biden would steer the future of transportation

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden would likely steer automotive policy in different directions over the next four years, potentially changing the industry's road map to the future.

Why it matters: The auto industry is on the cusp of historic technological changes and the next president — as well as the next Congress — could have an extraordinary influence on how the future of transportation plays out.

Updated 34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas — Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements.
  3. Politics: Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19 — Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health."
  4. Economy: Report: World's 10 richest men doubled wealth during pandemicAmerica's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic.
  5. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  6. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — French parliament passes COVID vaccine passport legislation.
  7. Variant tracker

Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19

Photo: Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images

Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.

State of play: Joint Staff spokesperson Col. Dave Butler said in a statement that Milley — who is fully vaccinated and has received a booster shot — is experiencing "very minor symptoms" and is "working remotely and isolating himself."