Feb 28, 2018

Self-driving car ace on techlash: rebuilding trust is "delicate balance"

Chris Urmson, Aurora's CEO, at an Axios event in Washington, D.C. Photo: Chuck Kennedy / Axios

The CEO for autonomous car tech startup Aurora, Dr. Chris Urmson, told Axios’ Mike Allen at an event Wednesday that he believes big tech companies “at their core are doing what they think is right for society” and “doing their best to generate a better world.” The caveat? “They have massive reach,” and with that, “there is a social responsibility that comes along with that.”

Why it matters: An exclusive Axios-SurveyMonkey poll released Wednesday shows a majority of Americans are now concerned that the government won't do enough to regulate how U.S. technology companies operate.

On big tech rebuilding trust with consumers: “I think they try hard at transparency,” but he said improving that transparency is “a delicate balance” for the companies.

On self-driving cars: “I think access to mobility in the long term will be profoundly important," Urmson said. "Transportation in our cities are…poor,” Urmson. He said he thinks the bus routes and public transportation routes are currently “not necessarily routed in the way for those who need it most,” and instead have been influenced by “political expediency.”

On companies and Russian interference in U.S. elections: “Well I think first it’s not clear that anyone saw this coming…they care deeply about America they care deeply about serving their…users.”

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