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Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Announces AV 4.0, a New Set of Federal Principles for Self-Driving Cars

Adrienne Patton



Photo of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao courtesy CTA

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Wednesday announced Automated Vehicles 4.0, a set of guiding policy principles for self-driving technology at CES 2020 in Las Vegas.

AV 4.0 is a joint initiative with the White House, said Chao, who said that the federal government is “all in” for safer, better, more inclusive transportation. Not only will autonomous vehicles save lives, but serve the demographics marginalized by transportation limitations.

Chao said AV 4.0 establishes three principles: protecting users and communities, promoting efficient markets, and facilitating coordinated efforts.

Chao cited significant improvements AV has made in saving lives. Since 1972, she said, annual traffic fatalities have declined 33 percent. Newer cars are safer, and AV offers breakthroughs in personal mobility.

The Transportation Department has also focused on other innovated transportation, she said, highlighting safety measures for consumer drones.

Remote ID technology will help lay a foundation for safe deployment for more complex drone operations, she said. Explaining the regulation, Chao stated that drones over a half-pound need a remote ID.

Exciting developments are also occurring with space travel, she said. As contrasted with 2014, today the U.S. is number one in commercial space launches, said Chao. She said outdated regulations are being overhauled, and expressed the possibility of travelling from the western hemisphere to the eastern hemisphere in a few minutes.

Following Chao, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios and Chao sat for a question and answer session with moderator Tiffany Moore.

Moore asked for a walk-through of the American artificial intelligence initiative. Kratsios said that government launched an AI strategy last year with four pillars including research and development, 21st Century jobs, a flexible regulatory approach, and international engagement.

Kratsios said the government wants to foster innovation, not squelch it – and he also stressed the importance of public comment during the regulation process.

He also said private companies have made public positions on principles that they will abide by as they develop AI. But American voices are crucial to the creation of regulations on AI technology.

Of the AV 4.0 announcement, Gary Shapiro, CEO of CES host Consumer Technology Association, said: “Our industry must continue to work with government to ensure the success and adoption of self-driving vehicles. The partnership between the White House and U.S. Department of Transportation is proof government is prioritizing the adoption of self-driving technology.”


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