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AV 3.0 Roll Out

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery By
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao
AV 3.0 Roll Out
DOT Headquarters
Washington, DC
Thursday, October 4, 2018

Thank you, Derek [Kan] for that introduction.

I am pleased to be here to announce the next step in the Department’s automated vehicle guidance.  Today the Department is releasing Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0 (AV 3.0).  This document supports the safe, reliable, and cost-effective integration of automation into our country’s surface transportation systems.  AV 3.0 builds upon—but does not replace—voluntary guidance provided in 2.0: A Vision for Safety

Vehicle automation is still in the early stages of development.  Driver-assist and other automated technologies are already being incorporated into some cars.  Actual fully autonomous or “self-driving” cars, however, don’t exist yet.  The Department is working with automakers, technology companies, and the public to move ahead in a manner that allows innovation to continue while protecting safety.    

Integrating AV technology into our transportation system has the potential to increase productivity, facilitate freight movement and create new types of jobs. In addition, it could increase access to transportation for traditionally underserved communities — especially the elderly and people with disabilities. 

While these technologies hold promise, they have not yet won public acceptance. After several widely publicized crashes, nearly three quarters of American drivers reported they were afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle.  That’s why I have consistently challenged Silicon Valley to step up and address the public’s legitimate concerns about the safety, security and privacy of this new technology.  Without public acceptance, the full potential of these technologies will never be realized.

That would be unfortunate, because if developed safely and responsibly, these automated driving system technologies could potentially save lives.  This week the Department released the 2017 traffic fatalities data.  In 2017, more than 37,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes on U.S. roads. Historically, human error has been a factor in 94% of fatal crashes, which automated technology could help address. 

The release of AV 3.0 addresses safety and innovation by focusing on three main areas.

First, it lays out guidance for automated vehicle development across all modes.   And it describes the Department’s approach to managing safety risks along the path to the full commercial integration of AV technology.

Second, it reduces policy uncertainty and clarifies roles to help avoid a conflicting patchwork of regulations that hamper innovation. It also aids innovators in working out common voluntary standards.  And it provides best practices for state and local governments, the private sector and innovators.

Third, it outlines a process for working with the Department to create a path forward.  It gives innovators guidance on which operating administration, or mode, within DOT handles the relevant AV policies.  And it highlights the Department’s approach to resolving novel issues that may arise. Some examples include:

  • FMCSA (Motor Carriers) and MARAD are jointly exploring how Level 4 Truck automation might improve operations and safety at intermodal port facilities;
  • Federal Highways has authority over traffic control devices, which will play a key role in smart infrastructure; and,
  •  Federal Transit Administration has published a five-year research plan on automating bus transit.

AV 3.0 outlines several other important issues impacted by AV technology. These include accessibility, cooperative automation and connectivity, as well as cybersecurity and privacy.  

As a former Secretary of Labor, I’m also pleased to announce that as part of this guidance, I will be launching a joint initiative with the Department of Labor, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Health and Human Services, to evaluate the workforce implications of automated vehicle technology.  Congress has already allocated funding for this research project.  It will provide information that will help workers prepare for the future.

As I have mentioned many times, the Department’s approach to new technology is technology neutral-- not top down, command and control.  The Department is not in the business of picking winners and losers.  Consumers and users ultimately will decide which technology or package of technologies suits them best. 

Let me note that voluntary compliance and self-reporting actually helps improve safety.  And we know this because voluntary compliance and reporting has helped improve commercial aviation safety.  Prior to the adoption of voluntary reporting programs, fear of punishment discouraged sharing information about safety incidents.  This voluntary data has been combined with other information collected by the FAA.   The data is then used to identify, spot, and fix potential problems before they occur.  This has contributed to an unmatched commercial aviation safety record for nearly a decade.   

Automated vehicle technology is moving forward rapidly, so the Department will not be standing still. AV 3.0 has been posted in the Federal Register for public comment.  Your comments and thoughts are welcome, and will be incorporated into the next version of this guidance. High-tech companies know technology and have an interesting vision of the future.  The older, more traditional auto manufacturers know safety.  So, they need to continue to work together.

So, with that, let me thank you for being here today.  As you know so well, innovation is a hallmark of our country, one of its strongest competitive advantages.  We need your help in ensuring that this technology moves forward safely, and that our country remains a world leader in innovation.

I want to thank our very special guest, Henry Claypool. Henry is a nationally known advocate for People with Disabilities.

I also want to recognize Chief John Soller of the District’s Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services.

I also want to recognize Bud Wright, of AASHTO; Ed Hamberger, of the Association of American Railroads; Collin Mooney of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance; Brian Wynne of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, and Dave Schwietert, of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.  I want to thank all of you for coming.

We also have so many people in the Department who have worked so hard to develop AV 3.0.  We have the OST-Policy Team, led by John Augustine, Sujeesh Kurup, and Kareem Habib; the OST-R and Volpe Team, the legal team, and the Modal teams.

Thank you.

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