New Transportation Department panel on automation to weigh in on self-driving cars

An Uber driverless car heads out for a test drive in San Francisco in December.
An Uber driverless car heads out for a test drive in San Francisco in December.
(Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

The U.S. Transportation Department has created an advisory committee on automation filled with representatives from the auto industry, ride-hailing companies, universities and the mayor of Los Angeles.

The committee will hold its first meeting Monday to discuss automation issues, such as the development and deployment of self-driving cars.

The committee will be co-chaired by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Mary Barra, chief executive of General Motors Co., which bought the self-driving technology firm Cruise Automation last year and is working with ride-hailing company Lyft to develop driverless taxis.

The brain trust will play a “critical role” in describing challenges, opportunities and best practices in automation, and also “will open lines of communication” to help stakeholders learn from each other, according to a statement Wednesday from the department.


Other committee members include representatives from companies with autonomous vehicle aspirations such as Uber Technologies Inc., Delphi Automotive and Lyft, as well as other interested parties like Apple, the American Trucking Assns. trade group and State Farm Insurance.

Faculty members from universities, such as UC Berkeley’s Robert Reich, as well as the National Safety Council and the transportation trade department of the AFL-CIO are also part of the committee.

“This new automation committee will work to advance lifesaving innovations while boosting our economy and making our transportation network more fair, reliable, and efficient,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.

In September, the Transportation Department and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a set of loose guidelines to guide the rollout of autonomous vehicles on the road.



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