Qualcomm, FedEx, auto executives to propose transport policies for world in transition

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WASHINGTON – A group of business leaders and public policy experts is launching a new body to grapple with thorny questions about the future of transportation, including self-driving and electric vehicles.

The Commission for the Future of Mobility, previously reported by Reuters, was officially unveiled on Friday. The group plans to propose a new regulatory framework to address a global transportation industry “on the eve of a global transition powered by shared, connected, autonomous and electric technologies.”

Alisyn Malek, the committee’s executive director, told Reuters the goal is to address tough issues and improve security.

“Let’s get everyone together to talk about how we want the movement of people and goods to really work,” Malek said in an interview.

Autonomous cars and vans, parcel drones, air taxis, connected vehicles and Hyperloop systems are among the advancements in transportation that could revolutionize travel.

Road accidents remain a major problem. The World Health Organization estimates that each year 1.35 million people die and 20 to 50 million are injured in car accidents.

The committee is co-chaired by Jared Cohon, president emeritus of Carnegie Mellon University, former Ford Motor CEO Jim Hackett and Transdev Group CEO Thierry Mallet.

“Progress can only be made if we modernize the way policies and regulations work,” Hackett said.

Governments, including the United States, are struggling to pass regulations to enable widespread use of next-generation transportation, such as self-driving cars, for safety reasons.

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Regulators set fuel efficiency requirements, while California and many European countries aim to end sales of new gasoline passenger cars by 2035.

The commission says in a review paper that “the current legal requirements regarding fuel-saving standards and vehicle safety do not reflect the transformation that is taking place in powertrains, autonomy and models of mobility.”

In 2022, the group plans to “recommend a post-2025 regulatory framework in the US, European and Asian markets that reflects and facilitates technological transformation” for emissions and safety regulations.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber CEO Richard Kramer, FedEx CEO Fred Smith and Qualcomm CEO Steven Mollenkopf will sit on the committee, as will Hyundai Motor Chief Operating Officer José Muñoz. It expects to add members before the February kick-off.

The committee is housed within SAFE, an impartial organization focused on energy security issues.

SAFE CEO Robbie Diamond said the goal is to rethink everything. “If you had to write regulations and policies from scratch, knowing what we know about technology today … what would you do differently?” he asked. “We want to think big.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson; edited by Michael Perry and Tom Brown)

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