DOT establishes council to address self-driving vehicles, other emerging tech

The U.S. DOT is forming an internal council intended to address emerging transportation advancements like self-driving vehicles, among other technologies. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao took to the tech-heavy South by Southwest Conference in tech hub Austin, Texas, to announce the council’s creation Tuesday.

“New technologies increasingly straddle more than one mode of transportation, so I’ve signed an order creating a new internal Department council to better coordinate the review of innovation that have multi-modal applications,” said Chao.

Though details were scant about who makes up the council, the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council will be a point of access for developers seeking approval to deploy new transportation tech, DOT says. It’s intended to ensure that deployment of new tech isn’t impeded by DOT, Chao said. NETT is meant to streamline the process for obtaining safety authorizations, permits and funding.

The group’s first meeting is this week. In addition to self-driving vehicles, DOT cited tunneling and hyperloops as other emerging technologies that NETT will address. The group’s first meeting, scheduled for this week, focuses on tunneling.

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