TR Daily Automated Vehicle Education Coalition Launched
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Monday, January 7, 2019

Automated Vehicle Education Coalition Launched

Industry and non-profit entities today announced the launch of a coalition to educate the public and policymakers about advanced vehicle technologies and self-driving vehicles.

Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) said in a news release that it “will hold events across the country to introduce driver assistance and self-driving technology to consumers and policymakers; hold educational workshops to help federal, state and local officials make informed policy decisions; and develop educational materials to distribute to retail sales and customer service personnel.”

“The members of this coalition come from a wide variety of interests, but share two beliefs: a belief in the potential of automated vehicles to transform the safety, mobility and sustainability of transportation, and a belief that informing the public about the technology is essential,” said Deborah Hersman, the outgoing president and chief executive officer of the National Safety Council who is joining Waymo LLC as its first chief safety officer (TR Daily, Nov. 27, 2018). “It is essential to engage the public and their elected representatives to shape an informed future of our roadways.”

The NSC, with Audi of America, is an inaugural co-chair of the coalition.

“Traditional automakers and newcomers are investing billions of dollars in the technology that will make automated vehicles possible,” said Mark Del Rosso, president of Audi of America. “PAVE recognizes the need to invest in public information – in making sure consumers and policymakers understand what’s real, what’s possible, and what is rumor or speculation.”

The PAVE announcement was made in Las Vegas today in conjunction with this week’s CES show.

The other members of the coalition are AAA, the American Public Transportation Association, Autonomous Intelligent Driving, Aurora Innovation, Inc., the Consumer Technology Association, Cruise Automation, Daimler AG, General Motors Co., Inrix, Inc., Intel Corp., Miami-Dade County, Fla., Mobileye, Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., the National Council on Aging, the National Federation of the Blind, Nvidia Corp., SAE International, Securing America’s Future Energy, Toyota Motor North America, Inc., the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Volkswagen AG, Voyage Auto, Waymo, and Zoox.

Road safety advocates complained that the coalition is weighted toward industry.

“There are meaningful actions that industry can take right now to help earn the public’s trust that proven technology can deliver safety. Effective, advanced technologies are available today including automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and blind spot detection. These are critical building blocks to driverless technology that can assist the public in bridging the gap to full autonomy. However, these technologies are typically only available in high end models or expensive trim packages,” said Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. “We urge the industry to ‘educate’ the public about the benefits of lifesaving motor vehicle technologies by installing these as standard equipment in cars instead of creating a new education initiative.”

Ms. Chase added that the media advisory on today’s PAVE announcement “shows it lacking essential voices including public health, law enforcement, first responders, bicyclists, pedestrians, consumers, individuals with varying disabilities, and many others who will be sharing the roads with driverless cars. These stakeholders have been advocating for comprehensive federal legislation that prioritizes safety and will continue to do so in the newly commenced 116th Congress.”

Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, said, “It is clear that the future of transportation will include autonomous vehicle technology. The challenge for manufacturers and regulators is how will they ensure this future is a safer one for consumers instead of just a more profitable one for corporations. History is clear that press conferences with industry captured political appointees and cynical private sector dominated, cutely named coalitions do little to advance safety. Consumers deserve publicly disclosed, objective, measurable, verifiable, and quantitative test results before driverless vehicles are allowed to be introduced into commerce. Public safety demands that liability for failure remains with the transportation industry instead of being shifted to involuntary test subjects.”

Efforts to get comprehensive self-driving legislation through the 115th Congress failed (TR Daily, Dec. 21, 2018).

Consumer groups opposed a modified version of the AV START Act (S 1885) in the final days of the session because they said that, among other things, it would preempt stronger California legislation on privacy and other issues (TR Daily, Dec. 6).- Paul Kirby, [email protected]

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