Securing America's Future Energy

SAFE Launches Autonomous Vehicle Task Force to Advance U.S. Economic and National Security

Contact: Ellen Carey
Number: 202-461-2382
Google advisor and former GM Corporate VP Larry Burns demonstrates how driverless technology will improve American mobility, reduce fuel use, and save lives. 

Washington, D.C. – Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) announced Wednesday the formation of its Autonomous Vehicle Task Force, a group of leading experts who will guide SAFE as it develops an action plan to facilitate the widespread deployment of this transformative technology. Taking full advantage of the safety, economic, and national security benefits of driverless cars and trucks will require a concerted effort on the part of the public and policymakers to allow the technology to flourish, avoiding excessive regulation and creating policy only if necessary. As with all new products, autonomous vehicles will experience constant evolution, and it is important to get them on the road as soon as possible.

The Autonomous Vehicle Task Force was announced at a Newsmaker event hosted by the National Press Club. Advisor to Google and former Corporate Vice President for Research and Development at General Motors Larry Burns hailed the creation of a new “Automotive DNA,” through which cars are connected and driverless, offering consumers and businesses an entirely new and improved value proposition. Burns was joined by Lynn Liddle, Executive Vice President at Domino’s Pizza, and Robbie Diamond, President and CEO of SAFE, who respectively spoke to the implications of driverless cars for the business community and the opportunity to reduce America’s dependence on oil.

“Autonomy will accelerate the deployment and use of electric vehicles and stimulate the mobile sharing economy, breaking oil’s monopoly over the transportation sector and shielding the country from an increasingly volatile and unpredictable global oil market,” said Diamond. “What’s more is that autonomous vehicles will drastically reduce road fatalities and offer people a better mobility experience, one that’s more convenient and efficient and can save our country $2-4 trillion annually over today’s traditional model.”

“SAFE is uniting a team of experts to tackle the social, political, market, and regulatory challenges of self-driving cars to help shape an environment that supports and accelerates the deployment of autonomous technologies. We ultimately look forward to the military and business leaders of the SAFE Energy Security Leadership Council incorporating the work of the Task Force in their vision and recommendations to the country in early 2016,” Diamond added.

“Benefits to energy security aside, connected and autonomous transportation offer the best way to address what has become a roadway safety epidemic, with the potential to reduce crashes by over 90 percent,” said Burns. “For every day we accelerate the transition to connected and driverless vehicles, we save 3,000 lives, underscoring the importance of making a plan and getting these technologies on the road as quickly as possible.”

In addition to Mr. Burns, members of SAFE’s Autonomous Vehicle Task Force include:

  • Rutt Bridges, geophysicist and author of “Driverless Car Revolution”
  • Mike Granoff, Principal, Maniv Mobility
  • Chunka Mui, Co-founder and Managing Director of The Devil’s Advocate Group and author of “The New Killer Apps: How Large Companies can Out-Innovate Start-Ups”
  • Mark Platshon, Managing Director, Icebreaker Ventures
  • Peter Shannon, Managing Director, Firelake Capital Management
  • Evangelos Simoudis, Senior Managing Director, Trident Capital
  • Levi Tillemann-Dick, Jeff and Cal Leonard Fellow, New America Foundation and author of “The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future”

Driverless cars present a compelling case for consumers and businesses, affecting nearly every industry. For Domino’s Pizza, the global leader in pizza delivery, the implications are enormous, as autonomous vehicles would transform the model on which it and its competitors operate. The lure of newly liberated free time, lower fuel costs, and reduced or eliminated operations and maintenance expenses—as well as the unparalleled benefits to U.S. energy security—illustrate the importance of getting these vehicles to market.


About Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) 

Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is a nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil and improve U.S. energy security to bolster national security and strengthen the economy. SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in fuel efficiency, and in the long-term, breaking oil’s stranglehold on the transportation sector through alternatives like natural gas for heavy-duty trucks and plug-in electric vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing U.S. oil dependence.



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