Washington, D.C.—In response to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) approval of Nuro’s exemption petition to test driverless electric vehicles with novel designs on public roads, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) President and CEO Robbie Diamond made the following statement:
“Granting this exemption is an incredibly important step forward in fully realizing the tremendous potential of self-driving vehicles. Last-mile autonomous package delivery not only promises a new era of consumer convenience and greater value, but also holds the potential to significantly cut congestion, improve road safety and reduce fuel use in the commercial sector.”
While NHTSA has approved Nuro’s petition for public testing of a delivery vehicle with no humans on board, NHTSA is also considering an exemption petition from Cruise for on-road testing of passenger vehicles without conventional design elements such as steering wheels or pedals. Approving this petition would allow Cruise to test new vehicle designs that could provide greater mobility and accessibility for our nation’s underserved communities, including the disabled and retirees.
“The next step in realizing the full societal and energy security benefits of self-driving cars is to create a regulatory pathway to enable the deployment of autonomous passenger vehicles with novel designs. Flexibility in design offers an opportunity for mobility to be re-envisioned from the ground up, allowing for more accessible vehicle designs, while also reducing fuel consumption. We therefore urge NHTSA to expedite consideration of the exemption petition submitted by Cruise,” Diamond added.
In its June 2018 study, America’s Workforce and the Self-Driving Future, SAFE found that self-driving cars hold the potential to create annual benefits of $800 billion per year through improvements in congestion, safety, fuel efficiency and accessibility.
To help the United States achieve these benefits, SAFE was an early supporter of the exemption petitions from Nuro and Cruise, urging NHTSA to evaluate the petitions expeditiously and in accordance with the requirements set by law ensuring they are as safe as other vehicles on the road. In addition, SAFE submitted comments to NHTSA in support of both the Nuro petition and the Cruise petition.
About Securing America’s Future Energy
Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil. Near-total dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector undermines the nation’s economic and national security, and constrains U.S. foreign policy. To combat these threats, SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency, and transportation sector innovations including electric vehicles, natural gas trucks, and autonomous vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing the United States’ dependence on oil. Today, the ESLC is co-chaired by Frederick W. Smith and General James T. Conway (Ret), 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.