On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on “Highly Automated Vehicles: Federal Perspectives on the Deployment of Safety Technology.” The hearing will have witnesses from the National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Witnesses will discuss perspectives on the safe testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles, efficiency benefits, and mobility.
To view the hearing, click here.
The Congressional 5G Caucus, co-chaired by Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-IN), Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI), and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI), held a briefing on “Cellular Vehicle to Everything: Leveraging 5G to Make Americas Roads Safer, Smarter, and More Efficient.” The panel discussed the importance of utilizing the 5.9 gigahertz bandwidth within 5G in order to have fully operational cellular vehicle to everything (CV2X) connectivity for the future. According to participants, CV2X capability will allow vehicles not only to connect and communicate with each other, but also with infrastructure, and mobile devices to increase safety on roadways, provide further visibility and the pathway to the future. Panelists echoed similar sentiments acknowledging that 5G is needed in order to transfer the amount of data that will be produced from the cutting-edge technology.
Dean Brenner, Senior Vice President at Spectrum Strategy and Tech Policy at Qualcomm, stated that most vehicles today have 4G enabling them to be able to connect with other vehicles. Walt Townsend, Vice President of Applications Engineering at Applied Information, highlighted that part of the testing they have been doing with emergency vehicles is in order to assure these vehicles get through traffic efficiently. John Kwant, Global Director of Government Affairs at Ford, and Brenner both expressed the need for preserving the 5.9 band for CV2X technology. In 1999 the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) reserved this part of the spectrum for direct short-range communications (DSRC). Under FCC rules, the 5.9 band space needs to be used for DSRC. Their rules also state an obligation to keep the rules updated. In May 2019, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai considered starting a rulemaking to reconsider usage of the 5.9 band for Wi-Fi, however, Brenner noted in the panel discussion there is 1200 megahertz above the 5.9 band that the FCC is giving for unlicensed use.
- John Kwant, Global Director, Government Affairs Mobility & Advanced Technologies, Ford
- Walt Townsend, VP Applications Engineering, Applied Information
- Nancy Bell, Policy Counsel, Automated Driving, Intel Corporation
- Dean Brenner, Senior Vice President, Spectrum Strategy & Tech Policy, Qualcomm
The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Highways and Transit held a hearing entitled, “The Future of Transportation Network Companies: Challenges and Opportunities.” Prior to hearing, Chairwoman of the Subcommittee Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) stated in a press release, “as state and local governments struggle to integrate new modes of transportation into their networks, Congress must take an active role ensuring safety and accountability for the needs of the traveling public.” In his opening statement, Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, noted the importance of how transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, are impacting America’s roadways and “what this new business model means for public safety, jobs, emissions, transit services, and other factors, must be at the center of any policy decision to allow these companies to access our infrastructure.”
During the Member Panel, Representative Smith (R-NJ) and Representative Suozzi (D-NY) both detailed in their opening statements the importance of ensuring that passengers utilizing ride hailing companies are getting into the right vehicle to avoid circumstances of those such as Samantha “Sami” Josephson, who was kidnapped and murdered by a man pretending to be an uber driver. The bipartisan legislation, H.R. 3262, in honor of Samantha was introduced this past June by Representative Smith and cosponsored by Representative Suozzi, was taken up in the subcommittee hearing. The legislation would require enhanced vehicle identification procedures to improve the safety of ride hailing passengers.
Witnesses during Panel 1 all echoed similar sentiments during their opening statements expressing the need for ensuring the safety of passengers using transportation network companies (TNCs) and the need for increased investment in pilot programs, research, and federal grants. Paul Miller, Legislative Counsel to The Transportation Alliance, emphasized that Congress should be deliberate in policy decisions, but “where we do see Congress having an immediate role is with the federal contracts awarded to for-hire transportation companies. The General Services Administration (GSA) is in the process of putting together a Request for Proposal (RFP), which is looking to outsource some of the Federal governments transportation needs to TNCs.” Miller, along with Chairman DeFazio, expressed concerns regarding the currently lax background check process at Uber and Lyft, and that fingerprint-based background checks should be implemented, especially if they were to be receiving a federal transportation contract.
- The Honorable Christopher H. Smith, A Representative in Congress, From the 4th District of New Jersey
- The Honorable Thomas R. Suozzi, A Representative in Congress, From the 3rd District of New York
- The Honorable Karen Freeman-Wilson, Mayor, City of Gary, Indiana, President, National League of Cities
- Jon W. Martz, Director, Government and Public Affairs, Commute with Enterprise
- Paul Miller, Legislative Counsel, The Transportation Alliance
- Larry Willis, President, Transportation Trade Department, AFL-CIO
To view the hearing in its entirety, click here.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is taking public comment on amending Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) No. 111, “Rear Visibility”. Currently, FMVSS No. 111, requires that vehicles have rearview mirrors. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NRPM) comes after requests from manufacturers to install “camera monitor system” (CMS) as an alternative to inside and outside rearview mirrors.
To read the NRPM and submit a comment, click here.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a Notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) asking the public for comments on amending the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) No. 141, Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles, to allow manufacturers of hybrid and electric vehicles (HEVs) to install a number of driver-selectable pedestrian alert sounds in each HEV they manufacture.
To view and submit comments on the NPRM, click here.
The Automotive Service Association submitted a letter to U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), Ranking Minority Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee regarding bi-partisan and bi-cameral self driving/ autonomous vehicle legislation.
Click here to read the ASA AV Committee Letter.
This morning the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) filed to study replacing traditional outside rearview mirrors with camera-based systems. NHTSA said that the “visibility-related technologies depends on both the performance of the systems and on drivers’ ability to effectively and comfortably use the systems.” NHTSA will be examining drivers’ eye glance behavior and other aspects of driving behavior over the multi-year study. The full notice will be posted in the Federal Register tomorrow.
Click here to read the Drivers’ Use of Camera-Based Rear Visibility Systems Versus Traditional Mirrors Proposal.
Last week the Automotive Service Association (ASA) signed on to the U.S. Vehicle Data Access Coalition’s letter regarding comments on bi-partisan and bi-cameral autonomous vehicle legislation to members of Congress.
Click here to read the U.S. Vehicle Data Access Coalition Letter.
The Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation (ACAT) within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) was first established in 2016. The Obama-era committee was created to “provide information, advice, and recommendations to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation on matters relating to the development and deployment of automated transportation systems and assess the state of departmental research, policy and regulatory support within this framework,” according to the DOT’s webpage. The committee was comprised of 25 members including executives from GM and Waymo, professors, and politicians involved within the transportation industry.
The ACAT met once in January 2017 prior to President Trump’s inauguration and was inactive in 2018. Under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) database, the DOT recommended that the committee be terminated and that “based on USDOT’s development and publication of AV 3.0 policies and principles, active stakeholder engagement is already underway. Therefore, the USDOT does have the ability to obtain broad stakeholders’ feedback on AV matters outside of the committee.”
To view the Committee Detail, click here.
The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing entitled, “Our Wireless Future: Building A Comprehensive Approach to Spectrum Policy.” Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) explains in his opening statement that:
Wireless spectrum enables much of the technology that powers our modern economy…[and] these technologies rely on spectrum that has been carefully licensed and coordinated by the FCC…To meet the current demand and meet future needs we need a national spectrum policy that incentivizes innovation and provides opportunities for new technologies…I am very concerned there has been a breakdown between the FCC, NTIA, and other federal stakeholders. Over the last year and a half several federal agencies have expressed deep concerns about a number of FCC proceedings relating to spectrum policy.
The first panel includes representatives from the FCC and NTIA to address these concerns as well as further discuss the deployment and repurposing of the 5G spectrum. The second panel contains witnesses that will explore the opportunity and challenges the C-band pose.
- Julius P. Knapp, Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology, Federal Communications Commission
- Derek Khlopin, Senior Policy Advisor, National Telecommunications and Information Administration
- Tim Donovan, Senior Vice President, Legislative Affairs, Competitive Carriers Association
- Peter Pitsch, Head of Advocacy & Government Relations, C-Band Alliance
- Scott Bergmann, Senior Vice President, Legislative Affairs, CTIA
- Michael Calabrese, Director, Wireless Future Project, Open Technology Institute at New America
- Mariel Triggs, Chief Executive Officer, MuralNet
- Jeffrey S. Cohen, Chief Counsel, APCO International
To view the hearing in its entirety, click here.