Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association Releases Policy Recommendations for U.S Congress & USDOT

The Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association (AVIA) has released federal policy recommendations aimed at maximizing the full potential of autonomous vehicles in the United States. AVIA convened its members to identify a comprehensive set of policies to champion the growth and development of the autonomous vehicle industry. According to a press release, the framework comprises of concrete recommendations for the United States Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) regarding the safe deployment and commercialization of autonomous technology across the U.S. 

“AVs are testing and operating in states around the country, bringing people and goods to where they need to go,” said Jeff Farrah, Executive Director of AVIA. “It is time for the U.S. to solidify our leadership, and these policy recommendations will expand opportunities for AVs to increase road safety, create new mobility options, and support economic growth and new jobs.” 

AVIA Federal Policy Framework

Recommendations made by AVIA include a federal framework that spells out necessary statutory and regulatory elements, the codification of the FMCSA interpretation that commercial vehicles operated by Level 4 or 5 systems do not require a human driver to be present, and the formation of a Joint Economic Committee to study the economic, accessibility, and equity impacts of AV deployment at scale.

“By more efficiently moving goods and freight, AVs can boost the supply chain, creating economic growth and thousands of new American jobs,” Farrah said. “AVs are operating in states as diverse as Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Michigan, and Texas.”

Expanded Access & Increased Awareness

Among the recommendations is not requiring a driver’s license to be a passenger in an autonomous vehicle. This recommendation could increase awareness of and access to emerging autonomous transportation options, like robotaxis. In Motional’s third annual Consumer Mobility Report, nearly half of robotaxi riders surveyed said they would utilize the service again. Meanwhile, some industry experts say an initial experience with self-driving technology is key when it comes to building trust with consumers. 

“While we have effectively partnered with local officials to safely introduce AVs into their communities, a federal framework will accelerate the U.S.’s progress in this transformative technology,” said Sam Wempe, Director of Government Relations at Motional. “Federal guidelines that support innovation while maintaining the AV industry’s rigorous safety standards will support the growth of the sector and ensure the U.S. stays competitive with future mobility advancement.” 

More Information

AVIA’s federal policy framework is available as a PDF, along with Farrah’s letter to Pete Buttigieg, United States Secretary of Transportation, and to other leaders in the House of Representatives. “AVIA is committed to working with policymakers to advance autonomous technology in the U.S.,” Farrah said. “Our country can be the global leader on AVs, but policymakers must prioritize this transformational technology.”