Tesla Model 3 - The Road to Autonomy

The Economic Impact of Autonomy

Jeff Farrah, Executive Director, Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association, joined Grayson Brulte on The Road to Autonomy podcast to discuss the economic impact of autonomy and why autonomy is the future.

The conversation begins with Jeff discussing how the autonomous vehicle industry will navigate the potential economic downturn that is on the horizon.

There is an expression in the venture capital world that some of the very best companies are built in down markets.

– Jeff Farrah

While this is an expression, Founders and Executives in the autonomous vehicle industry are hard at work commercializing, scaling and generating revenue from autonomy. The industry today is entering the next phase as AV companies move away from full-time research and development and into the operations stage of their companies lifecycle.

As AV companies mature, the market is taking notice.

There is a tremendous amount of excitement kind of up and down the economy to ultimately have a piece of this [market].

– Jeff Farrah

As the market takes notice, consumers are starting to take notice as well as autonomy will create high-paying jobs. Along with the new jobs created by autonomy, the technology will have a positive economic impact on the global economy by creating new jobs, shoring up the supply chain and ultimately helping to lower inflation.

For AVs to truly scale, we need a National Autonomous Vehicle Framework that enables regulatory certainty. With regulatory certainty, investment into the sector will flourish.

We do not want to have a situation where this industry does poorly because there are giant question marks hanging over it that policy makers could have ultimately clarified.

– Jeff Farrah

Today, there is no National Autonomous Vehicle Framework and the industry is left with a patchwork of laws that makes scaling difficult. In California, legislators are currently considering bill AB 316 that would prohibit the operation of autonomous vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds on public roads for testing and commercial operations without a driver in the vehicle. This bill in its current form will kill jobs and have a negative impact on the economy of the State of California.

You have a situation where many of the leading autonomous trucking companies are based in California. Despite that, the State in many circles tends to be taking a posture of no thanks, we are not interested, please go elsewhere.

– Jeff Farrah

When the industry goes elsewhere, jobs will follow. In the communities that embrace AVs, new jobs will be created, new businesses will open and those communities will experience the positive economic impact of AVs. Recently, Governor Reeves of Mississippi signed HB 1003 welcoming autonomous vehicles to Mississippi.

With the signing of HB 1003, autonomous trucks can now travel along the I-10 from Arizona to Florida fully autonomous.

Wrapping up the conversation, Jeff shares his view on the future of autonomous vehicles and trucks.

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Recorded on Tuesday, April 4, 2023