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Doug Davis on the Road Ahead for US Leadership in Autonomous Vehicles

Doug Davis
Doug Davis, senior vice president and general manager of the Automated Driving Group at Intel Corporation, speaks in May at the company’s autonomous driving workshop at its Silicon Valley Center for Autonomous Driving in San Jose, California. (Credit: Intel Corporation)
In the midst of significant policy changes for self-driving cars, Doug Davis, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Automated Driving Group (ADG), spoke with tech reporter Michaela Ross on Bloomberg BNA’s Code & Conduit podcast. Davis addressed what this array of new federal regulations means for the near future of self-driving cars and Intel’s relentless focus on safety and innovation.

More: Autonomous Driving (Press Kit) | Listen to the Code & Conduit podcast

Davis and Ross dove into areas including the new self-driving car guidelines released by Secretary Elaine Chao and the Department of Transportation, the SELF DRIVE Act passed by the House earlier this summer and, on the eve of its release, Intel’s hopes for the Senate’s bipartisan legislative proposal for self-driving cars. Davis advocated for the involvement of tech companies in development and testing of autonomous vehicles and the importance of clear federal and state regulatory roles to support deployment across the country:

“The House SELF DRIVE Act expands a framework for test vehicles … It gives enough flexibility to get cars out on the road and demonstrate the various different scenarios that they need to be able to operate in. It creates an environment where technology companies working together with the OEMs and developers of these vehicles can aid in both the development and the testing of these vehicles as they get put out on the road.”

In addition, Davis spoke about the common concern that self-driving cars will cause job displacement. He encouraged listeners to instead consider that while they will transform the job market, self-driving cars will also create exciting new opportunities, industries and jobs. It’s all part of what Intel calls the Passenger Economy.

“We’ll see shifts in where jobs exist and how those jobs will change … but history has shown that new technologies and new types of automation actually create more jobs. … Our vehicles could provide new capabilities around advertising. We could provide mobility as a benefit to apartment complexes. We could even think about things like services being delivered as part of your transportation. You have a 45-minute commute in an autonomous vehicle; maybe you request a ride-share service where you can get your nails done while you’re on your way to work or meet with a financial adviser. We can start to imagine all kinds of things that are possible as we get that time back – all the time we spend stuck in traffic, unable to do other more productive things.”

In closing, Davis emphasized that Intel is working with many industry organizations on legislation, and that two key points of focus are: prioritizing safety and helping create guidelines around consistency in safety protocol; and ensuring technology is scalable and cost-effective to open up the Passenger Economy.

“We’ll continue to help encourage the kind of climate such that the United States is able to play a leadership role in both the development and deployment of [self-driving] vehicles.”

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