Intel sees Elaine Chao appointment as “exciting opportunity”

Intel senior vice president Doug Davis

Intel has welcomed the appointment of Elaine Chao as US secretary of transportation, describing it as “an exciting opportunity” for industry and government to work together to foster US leadership in self-driving cars and smart infrastructure.

“The automotive and transportation industries are on the cusp of a major transformation,” said Doug Davis, Intel’s senior vice president and manager of its automated driving group.

Car makers around the globe, transportation companies and the community of suppliers and technologists have, he said, embraced the idea of vehicle automation to improve safety, efficiency and mobility.

“We all recognise that self-driving vehicles and the plethora of emerging mobility services will be here much faster than some projected just a couple of years ago,” he said. “That's why Secretary Chao's commitment to advancements in transportation and private sector innovation, and her emphasis on public-private partnerships are so heartening.”

In summer 2016, Davis was the only technologist invited to testify before the US Senate Commerce Committee to explore how the IoT could bring US transportation and infrastructure into the 21st century.

“I was part of small panel that included distinguished representatives from the transportation and the infrastructure industries, each with unique perspectives on various elements required to position the USA as a global leader in the rapidly evolving transportation market,” he said. “With the swearing in of Secretary Chao and the new congress, Intel is looking forward to continuing that engagement and partnering with the government to revitalise and future-proof our infrastructure and update the nation's public policies to reflect the speed of innovation.”

Updating American infrastructure, he said, implied a transformation in the way the country approached urban and city planning.

“It will require millions of cameras and other sensors to improve safety and efficiency along our roads and highways, along with wireless chips embedded in traffic signals, street lights, parking meters and parking lots,” he said. “All of these can capture, analyse and communicate real-time information with a new generation of cars, buses, trucks and other modes of transportation.”

Within the vehicle, he discussed the “unprecedented levels” of technologies that were already starting to make cars smarter, safer and more efficient. These include technologies such as 5G – the next-generation of wireless connectivity – that will enable the vehicle to detect its surroundings quickly, make safety decisions and communicate with other vehicles on the roads and with transportation infrastructure. Cars will also be able to share the information with the cloud where more data analysis will happen.

“All of this will require unparalleled computing power and security, and Intel has been pushing the boundaries of technology to deliver the hardware, software and security,” he said. “Whether it's 5G or leading edge artificial intelligence, we have been working aggressively with our industry partners to bring these cutting-edge innovations to the nation's transportation system.”

These transformational technology breakthroughs, he said, would mean exponential levels of productivity and vast positive societal impact.

“Imagine a doctor being able to securely receive and analyse a critically ill patient's medical records while riding in a self-driving car to the hospital,” he said. “Imagine an entrepreneur being able to conduct a business meeting via video conference with someone across the country or even across the world, while still on the go.”

Autonomous driving, he said, was set to “revolutionise the way we live”. Self-driving vehicles, he said, would save lives, empower aging and disabled population with new levels of mobility, reduce traffic congestion and increase efficiencies in transportation system and businesses around the world.

“With such monumental societal benefits at stake, Intel looks forward to partnering with Secretary Chao and the department of transportation, the White House and congress to drive public policies that will help America lead the world in transportation and infrastructure innovation,” he said.

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