Moving Past Misconceptions

Ariel Wolf, General Counsel, Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association joined Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss misconceptions of AV technology in the marketplace.

The conversation begins with Ariel discussing the rebranding of the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets to the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association.

[The brand] showcases the evolution of both the AV industry and the organization’s role with policymakers and the public.

– Ariel Wolf

As AV technology advances, building and maintaining public trust is critical to the adoption of autonomous vehicles. In addition to public trust, there is a need for a National Autonomous Vehicle Framework that promotes the safe and swift deployment of autonomous vehicles in the United States.

In the market, there are misconceptions around what an autonomous vehicle is as some consumers are mistaken that ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems) equipped vehicles are indeed autonomous vehicles.

One of the key challenges is the confusion in the public between the features and benefits of driver-assist technology and autonomous vehicle technology.

– Ariel Wolf

The Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association has called on Congress, policymakers, journalists, and the industry to clearly distinguish between ADAS and autonomous vehicles. When the terms are intermingled, it leads to confusion in the market and erodes public trust.

When you look at the perception of AV technology, it’s influenced unfortunately by unrelated ADAS technology and that leads to a diminishment of consumer trust that is really unjustified.

– Ariel Wolf

On February 2, 2022, Ariel testified during The Road Ahead for Automated Vehicles hearing, part of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Highways and Transit in Congress. During his testimony, he highlighted the important safety benefits of autonomous vehicles.

Deploying AV technology to make the roads safer should be part of a holistic solution.

– Ariel Wolf

AV technology will not just make the roads safer, the technology will create jobs and shore up the supply chain. A steady supply chain that is complimented with AV technology will help to lower inflation. With a 40-year high inflation rate in the United States, Grayson and Ariel discuss autonomous trucks and the benefit the technology will have on the U.S. economy.

According to recent data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual inflation rate for overall trucking costs is 17%. For the long-haul trucking sector, the annual inflation rate is 25%.

With record-high inflation, Grayson asks Ariel why the United States is not embracing autonomous trucking as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce inflation. The autonomous trucking industry is willing to step up, but there is a need for a national framework and engaging conversations between the Government and the industry.

Conversations also need to take place between the Ports and the autonomous trucking industry as the costs to ship goods have gone up due to the supply chain crisis. At the Ports of LA and Long Beach, it can take anywhere from 28 to 52 days to ship a pair of shoes produced in China from Shanghai to Los Angeles, up from between 17 and 28 days before the pandemic. And the total cost has gone up by $1.77 per pair. Yet the Ports will not engage with the autonomous trucking industry.

Today, autonomous trucks can not test and/or deploy in California due to the regulatory environment. This is having a negative impact on not only the citizens of the State of California but all Americans, as 31% of all imports to the U.S. enter the country through the Port of LA and Port of Long Beach.

Autonomous trucking is going to be a positive for everyone involved.

– Ariel Wolf

The California Alliance for Freight Innovation (CAFI) was founded to transform how freight moves across the State of California to the benefit of everyone. With the future of autonomous trucking unsure in California, the industry has opened operations in Texas and is actively hauling freight in the State.

Wrapping up the conversation, Grayson and Ariel discuss the environmental benefits of autonomous trucks.

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Recorded on Friday, February 4, 2022.