ASME Partners with Congressional Robotics Caucus for Briefing on Autonomous Vehicles

ASME Partners with Congressional Robotics Caucus for Briefing on Autonomous Vehicles

(Far left) Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA), co-chair of the Congressional Robotics Caucus, provided opening remarks at the recent briefing on autonomous vehicles. Also taking part in the briefing were (at the table, left to right) moderator Said Jahanmir, president-nominee of ASME, Joe Jarzombek of Synopsys Inc., Chuck Thorpe of Clarkson University and chair of the ASME Robotics Public Policy Task Force, Constantine Samaras of Carnegie Mellon University, and Finch Fulton from the Transportation Policy Office of the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy.

ASME recently partnered with the Robotics Caucus Advisory Committee and the Congressional Robotics Caucus to convene a briefing for Congressional staff on the anticipated arrival and integration of automated vehicles (AVs) into the United States’ transportation infrastructure.

The Congressional Robotics Caucus, chaired by Congressman Rob Woodall (R-GA) and Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA), focuses on issues facing the robotics industry, including technological as well as legal and regulatory challenges. Both Congressmen Woodall and Doyle addressed the audience during the event, which took place Oct. 24 in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill, and shared their excitement for the economic and societal benefits AV technology will provide, while also expressing their commitment to addressing policy concerns. The briefing was co-hosted by IEEE-USA and Carnegie Mellon University, who are members of the Robotics Caucus Advisory Committee along with ASME.

(Left to right) Congressman Rob Woodall (R-GA) speaks with ASME President-Nominee Said Jahanmir at the Congressional briefing on autonomous vehicles. Congressman Woodall also delivered opening remarks at the event, which was held Oct. 24.

In addition to hearing from the Caucus co-chairs, Deputy Assistant Secretary Finch Fulton spoke to the role of the Federal government in integrating automated vehicles. He remarked that the U.S. Department of Transportation recently released new guidelines for automated driving systems in “A Vision for Safety 2.0,” and is already working on version 3.0 to be released in 2018.

After the opening remarks, incoming ASME President-Nominee Said Jahanmir, Ph.D., moderated the panel session featuring experts who provided their insights on where the government should play a role and what issues the government should be addressing proactively. Panelists included Chuck Thorpe, Ph.D., chair of the ASME Robotics Public Policy Task Force and dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Clarkson University; Constantine Samaras, Ph.D., assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University; and Joe Jarzombek, global manager of the Software Integrity Group at Synopsys Inc.

A crowd of 86, primarily consisting of Congressional staffers, attended the briefing at the Rayburn House Office Building’s House Transportation and Infrastructure Hearing Room.

The speakers offered insightful remarks on the specific challenges the government must be thinking about while researchers and industry race towards full AV integration. During the event, it became clear that while the benefits automated vehicles promise are vast, AVs face major societal obstacles as they are integrated into society, such as how to deter malicious activities aimed at connected vehicles, where and to what extent the technology should be utilized, and how to prepare a sufficient infrastructure that moves at the same pace as the technology. All of the panelists noted that it is necessary for policymakers to consider these far-reaching impacts as technologists continue to improve and innovate AV capabilities.

To learn more about the Congressional Robotics Caucus, visit

- Samantha Fijacko, Government Relations

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