A Washington, D.C. – based nonprofit announced a new Autonomous Vehicle Task Force, created to advocate for a technology that the group said offers benefits for business, national security and the environment.
The goal of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) – an organization that promotes alternatively-fueled vehicles as a way to reduce the country’s dependence on oil – is not to recommend a series of strict laws. Instead, the group wants to create an action plan to promote widespread adoption of autonomous technology.
“Taking full advantage of the safety, economic, and national security benefits of driverless cars and trucks will require a concerted effort on the part of the public and policymakers to allow the technology to flourish, avoiding excessive regulation and creating policy only if necessary,” said SAFE.
At an event hosted by the National Press Club on Wednesday, SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond, explained how championing autonomous technology also promotes electrified vehicles.
“Autonomy will accelerate the deployment and use of electric vehicles and stimulate the mobile sharing economy, breaking oil’s monopoly over the transportation sector and shielding the country from an increasingly volatile and unpredictable global oil market,” said Diamond. “What’s more is that autonomous vehicles will drastically reduce road fatalities and offer people a better mobility experience, one that’s more convenient and efficient and can save our country $2-4 trillion annually over today’s traditional model.”
Members of the new task force include Larry Burns, advisor to google and former corporate vice president for research and development at General Motors, Lynn Liddle, Executive Vice President at Domino’s Pizza and Rutt Bridges, geophysicist and author of “Driverless Car Revolution.”
The objective of the task force is to address “the social, political, market, and regulatory challenges of self-driving cars to help shape an environment that supports and accelerates the deployment of autonomous technologies,” said Diamond. “We ultimately look forward to the military and business leaders of the SAFE Energy Security Leadership Council incorporating the work of the Task Force in their vision and recommendations to the country in early 2016.”
At the event, members of the task force noted other advantages and opportunities for the technology. For companies that rely heavily on passenger vehicles, such as Domino’s Pizza, autonomous vehicles have the potential to significantly affect the business model. They could also have a striking affect on safety.
“Benefits to energy security aside, connected and autonomous transportation offer the best way to address what has become a roadway safety epidemic, with the potential to reduce crashes by over 90 percent,” said Burns. “For every day we accelerate the transition to connected and driverless vehicles, we save 3,000 lives, underscoring the importance of making a plan and getting these technologies on the road as quickly as possible.”