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USDOT creates new committee on automation

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has established a new advisory committee focused on automation across transportation modes.

The committee will hold its first meeting Jan. 16 to begin work on “pressing and relevant matters facing transportation today,” including the development and deployment of automated vehicles, USDOT officials said in a press release.

"This new automation committee will work to advance life-saving innovations while boosting our economy and making our transportation network more fair, reliable, and efficient," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The 25-member committee includes Ed Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO; Chris Spear, president and chief executive officer of the American Trucking Associations; and Rachel Holt, regional general manager of Uber in the United States and Canada.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and General Motors Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mary Berra will serve as co-chairs. J. Chris Gerdes, who serves as professor of engineering at Stanford University, will be vice chair.

As technology develops, automation may play a larger role in a number of transportation modes, including cars, buses, trains, planes and drone systems, USDOT officials said.

The committee will play a critical role in sharing best practices, challenges and opportunities in automation, and will open lines of communication so stakeholders can learn and adapt based on feedback from each other, they added.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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