Published- June 20, 2024

Artificial intelligence “has the ability to transform our automotive and transportation systems,” Federal Highway Administration Administrator Shailen Bhatt said at this year’s Auto Tech Showcase  in Washington, D.C.

Bhatt made his remarks at the Alliance for Automotive Innovation event on June 12 that brought together major auto suppliers, autonomous vehicle (AV) innovators, semi-conductor producers and safety innovators.

The theme for this year’s event was “Safety. Connectivity. Innovation,” with a focus on mega trends observed within the auto industry.

“Today, the auto industry is defined by breakthrough technologies that were not normally associated with automobiles in the past,” Alliance for Automotive Innovation President & CEO John Bozzella said in his welcoming remarks.

He also said that today, software-defined vehicles, vehicle to everything (V2X) connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, the 5G spectrum, LiDAR sensors and the cloud are transforming the auto industry and moving it toward a safer and accessible future for everyone on the nation’s roadways.

The event’s program focused on policy and panel discussions revolving around ways to remove barriers to deploying safety technologies within the automotive industry. During the event, four policy leaders were recognized with Autos2050® Leadership Awards for their commitment to a competitive American auto sector.

Bhatt expressed his support for V2X technology during his keynote speech. V2X enables connectivity between vehicles, infrastructure and users of the systems.

During a session on “Vehicle Safety: Here and Now – Vehicle technologies that are currently saving lives,” panelists discussed how automakers have made significant investments in in-vehicle technologies to save lives and reduce crashes. They also reviewed key technological innovations in automotive safety.

Currently, cars have safety features including seatbelts, rear-view cameras, automated emergency braking (AEB) systems and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to aid and alert the driver.


Adam Raviv, chief counsel for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), talked about the agency’s role in researching safety features in cars and explained the process involved in standardizing vehicle safety features. which includes years-long research. The AEB and pedestrian automated emergency braking (PAEB) are examples of where, after extensive research over multiple years, a final rule was released that requires vehicle manufacturers to include these safety features in cars and light trucks to reduce vehicle and pedestrian crashes, starting in 2029.

Raviv also talked about the ADS-equipped Vehicle Safety, Transparency and Evaluation Program, also known as AV STEP.  The program is led by NHTSA’s Office of Automation Safety and its goal is to facilitate the deployment of advanced driving systems (ADS) in vehicles by considering applications for deploying noncompliant ADS-equipped vehicles.


Robert Molloy, director of the Office of Highway Safety at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said during a discussion of collision-avoidance technology – or level 2 (L2) ADAS – that lane markings and signs are critical to utilizing the technology to combat distracted driving.

“We will need the lane markings and signs to make all of this work,” Molloy said.

He noted that some ADAS, such as Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA), rely on accurate mapping data, road signs and other road infrastructure. Updated maps and well‑maintained signs and pavement markings are vital for optimal performance for ADAS.

A point to note is that ADAS features are there to assist drivers, not to take over the driving task. In-vehicle safety features complement education and enforcement in road safety through real-time alerts and assistance, he said.


Awareness of safety technologies helps drivers use them effectively but there appears to be a lack of widespread understanding of ADAS technology among the public, said Pam Shadel Fischer, senior director of external engagement at the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA).

“While the same technology exists in different cars, they might not be called the same, adding more to the confusion,” she said

ATSSA recently released a case study on AI entitled “Driving Transportation Safety Forward with AI: Case studies on the application of artificial intelligence in transportation.” It was co-authored by ATSSA Director of Innovation & Technical Services Eric Perry and ATSSA Master Instructor Tim Luttrell and is now available as a free download.

Bhatt: AI could transform auto, transportation systems – ATSSA

← Return To Current News