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.

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Updated Sep 22, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: How cities are preparing for an increasingly digital economy

On Tuesday, September 22 Axios' Erica Pandey hosted an event on how cities are building stronger, more efficient operations to support an increasingly digital economy, featuring Dunkin' Brands CFO Kate Jaspon and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

Kate Jaspon discussed trends in Dunkin' Brands' customer digital transactions and how they're promoting their brand across younger social media platforms like TikTok.

  • How coronavirus has accelerated the move towards a contactless food experience: "We're seeing a lot of guests shift away from cash and actually move to these contactless payments."
  • On the company’s successful partnership with TikTok star Charli D’Amelio: "We've seen a significant number of app downloads and perk memberships come from her demographic and her following, as well as an increase in our cold brew sales since we launched."

Jessica Rosenworcel unpacked the future of smart cities, how new technology can be better integrated into public spaces, and the need for the federal government to better collaborate with city mayors.

  • On cities being able to predict things like fires, safety hazards: "Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we knew those kinds of things well in advance, if we had a predictive ability that exceeds what we have today because we are looking at patterns at a scale that previously we haven’t been able to do? I think that those things are real and they are not so in the far-off future."
  • On partnerships between the federal and local governments: "We've got to figure out how to be partners with mayors and town councils...I think right now they see federal authorities as someone who wants to take their power away and prevent them from having a say and where communications infrastructure goes on their streets in their backyards."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with Visa Chief Product Officer Jack Forestell who discussed changes in digital commerce and what this means for the economy.

  • On digital shopping experiences being the new norm for small businesses: "What we have seen with the pandemic is a sharp uptick in digital commerce...But what we're seeing now is that the new set of digital commerce behaviors is really sticking. The implication is that small businesses, Main Street businesses, really need to get digital."

Thank you Visa for sponsoring this event.

Mike Allen, author of AM
8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump sees court fight as virus respite

Spotted at Trump's rally last night at Harrisburg International Airport in Middletown, Pa. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

At a rally in Pennsylvania last night, President Trump basked in adulation for Judge Amy Coney Barrett and said: "She should be running for president!"

Why it matters: She might as well be. The Trump campaign is thrilled to be talking about something besides the president's handling of COVID, and is going all-in to amp up the court conversation.

Mike Allen, author of AM
8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats feel boxed in on strategy for Barrett confirmation fight

Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

Democrats privately fear that going too hard on Judge Amy Coney Barrett in her confirmation hearings could wind up backfiring, if senators are perceived as being nasty to an accomplished woman.

Driving the news: Yesterday afternoon, NBC posted video of Coney Barrett outside her house in South Bend, Ind., loading four of her seven children — two of the seven adopted from Haiti, and another with Down Syndrome — into her Honda Odyssey minivan, then driving them all to her Air Force ride to Washington. "Good luck, Democrats," a Republican tweeted.