Washington, D.C.—In response to reports that autonomous vehicle (AV) developer Cruise has received a permit from California’s DMV to deploy electric, self-driving vehicles without a backup driver, SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond made the following statement:
“This is a timely milestone for self-driving deployment and speeding the safety benefits of AVs. As the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects, driverless and contactless services will only grow in importance as consumers increasingly opt for limited person-to-person contact. We congratulate Cruise and commend the California DMV for this landmark achievement.”
Widespread AV deployment promises tremendous societal benefits. SAFE’s 2018 report, America’s Workforce and the Self-Driving Future, found that the consumer and societal benefits are estimated to reach $800 billion per year by 2050 through improvements in congestion, job availability and—crucially—significant reductions in traffic accidents.
Critically, such milestones also enhance U.S. AV competitiveness against Chinese competition, especially as the global transportation sector transitions away from petroleum fuels to a connected, autonomous, shared and electric future.
“From setting global standards to the energy security benefits of reduced oil dependence, there are tremendous strategic and economic benefits on offer to the country that reaches viable commercialized deployment first. For the United States to lead this critical transition, we need many more milestones like the approval Cruise received today and now need to set a firm regulatory pathway with design exemptions for new vehicles that allow the country to lead and maximize the benefit for society,” Diamond added.
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SAFE enhances the nation’s energy security and supports our economic resurgence and resiliency, by advancing transformative transportation and mobility technologies and ensuring that the United States secures key aspects of the technology supply chain to achieve and maintain our strategic advantage.
In partnership with the Electrification Coalition, SAFE’s sister organization, we work with consumers, businesses, and policymakers, to launch award-winning “real-world” programs and enable the needed polices to accelerate transportation electrification around the country to reduce our Nation’s dependence on oil.