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U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx and Israeli Minister of Transport and Intelligence Katz Join Efforts to Promote Innovation and Advance Research

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Countries agree to collaborate on autonomous vehicles and transportation related issues

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Israeli Minister of Transport and Intelligence Israel Katz met on Monday  to discuss technology and innovation in transportation and to establish a formal partnership to examine autonomous vehicles. This was the second time the Secretary and Minister met, the first meeting took place in in Jerusalem in November of 2015.

During the meeting, Secretary Foxx and Minister Katz signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) outlining their commitment to work together on key issues related to the future of transportation. The discussion also focused on moving beyond traditional modes of transportation, embracing best practices in the public and private sectors and collaborating in research, specifically:

•           Advising on Israeli plans to build a center for the development of autonomous vehicles in the city of Natanya, Israel. 

•           Collaborating on the safe deployment of automated and connected vehicles, including best practices around cybersecurity.

•           Sharing successful models of Public Private Partnerships.

“At the Department of Transportation we are working relentlessly to lead the world in building a 21st century infrastructure system designed to grow the economy and give our people a better quality of life,” said Secretary Foxx. “We were thrilled to welcome Minister Katz to DOT and we are looking forward to collaborating with Israel to advance research, harness innovative approaches and support the future deployment of automated vehicles.”

“For the past hundred years, innovation within the automotive sector has created safer, cleaner, and more affordable vehicles, but progress has been incremental.,” said Minister Katz. “The industry now appears close to substantial change, engendered by autonomous, or ‘self-driving,’ vehicle technologies. This technology offers the possibility of significant benefits to social welfare – saving lives; reducing crashes, congestion, fuel consumption and pollution; increasing mobility for the disabled; and ultimately, benefits of this technology will likely outweigh the disadvantages.  Israel is in the cutting edge of autonomous vehicle technological systems. We are very proud of the cooperation with the United States in this field and of the great potential for saving lives. The new center of excellence which we will build in Natanya will advance the research and development efforts and position the city in the select group of leading cities in this field in the world.”

During Secretary Foxx’s visit to Israel in November of 2015, the leaders discussed transportation challenges both countries were facing, innovative solutions to tackle some of those challenges and ways that both countries could work together to strengthen their transportation systems. In addition, Secretary Foxx met with start-up business leaders, participated in a roundtable conversation with students and faculty at Technion, and met with the leadership team at the Jerusalem-based company, Mobileye.

Following the visit to Israel in November, the Department of Transportation (DOT)announced a partnership to provide Mobileye’s Shield +TM driver assistance safety technology to the winner of the Smart City Challenge in December of 2015. Once installed, the technology is designed to generate continuous, real-time data delivery, which will empower the winning city to make improvements to the safety and efficiency of its public bus system. DOT’s Smart City Challenge is a competition that will support the creation of a fully integrated, first-of-its-kind city in the United States that uses data, technology and creativity to shape how people and goods move in the future. 

The DOT and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have been conducting research on vehicle automation for many years.  In January 2016, DOT announced that NHTSA will work with industry and other stakeholders to develop guidance on the safe deployment and operation of autonomous vehicles, providing a common understanding of the performance characteristics necessary for fully autonomous vehicles and the testing and analysis methods needed to assess them.  In addition, NHTSA is working with state partners, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, and other stakeholders to develop a model state policy on automated vehicles that offers a path to consistent national policy.