Federal Framework on Autonomous Vehicles Policy Essential, UPS Executive Says

WASHINGTON — Nationwide policy for autonomous cars and trucks has the potential of facilitating the flow of freight while improving safety, according to a senior executive at UPS Inc. on Feb. 12.

At a panel hosted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Thomas Jensen, senior vice president of transportation policy at UPS, explained that the inevitable integration of autonomous vehicle technology across the freight industry will be enhanced when a national set of guidelines is implemented, and a patchwork in which states adhere to differing regulations is likely to hinder connectivity.

“We don’t like the patchwork. It doesn’t matter what the context is. We need a network, not a patchwork,” Jensen said.

The expected rise in automation is unlikely to result in a sea change across the labor force, Jensen emphasized. In the coming years, the industry expects certain roles to evolve. “We’re going to be fine as it relates to jobs. The jobs may look a little different, but there’ll be a role for young folks, and for old folks who’ve worked in the transportation industry for many, many years.”

He added: “But that shouldn’t be a reason to stop us, block us, and provide an impediment to technology and advancement.”

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