Last Wednesday, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a new advisory committee on autonomous vehicles. The committee’s mission: develop recommendations for how automated technology can transform the way we move people and goods, on our roads and railroads and in our airspace.
Thinking about autonomous vehicles holistically is to be applauded. Yet automation on land still seems to dominate the conversation. You’ve likely seen the headlines about driverless cars, buses, and trains: Tesla launches Autopilotand Elon Musk proposes the Hyperloop. Google’s driverless car logs 700,000 miles on the roads of California and Nevada. Toyota, BMW, Daimler, and others invest billions in technologies that could allow humans to take their hands off the wheel.