Government’s Role in Shaping Our Driverless Future with Dan Sullivan MassDOT

Can you imagine what a driverless world would look like? The more you think about it, the more complicated it gets. Will there be steering wheels, a need for drivers’ licenses, or road rage? Where do you even begin to think about the legalities behind this, and how will government keep up with this rapidly changing world?  Luckily, for all the visionaries and entrepreneurs out there, lawmakers have their eyes on the future. 

In this episode, join Ed Bernardon, host of  the Future Car Podcast, and Daniel Sullivan who shares his experiences and insights on the front lines as the Assistant Director of Policy at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. He tells us about asset mapping, where and why human drivers are slowing down the developments of autonomous vehicles, how simulations are used to test new autonomous vehicle software, and even what traveling to Fenway Park will be like in 2040. 

Some Questions I Ask: 

  • Tell us how you got involved in government, transportation, and developing autonomous vehicles. (1:26)
  • What are the big target areas where we can apply technology and get the most improvement? (3:40)
  • How do the goals for implementing autonomous vehicles in cities versus states differ? (12:05)
  • What can you do on the infrastructure side to take advantage of autonomous vehicles sooner rather than later? (18:12)
  • With so many different modes of transportation sharing the road, how do you accommodate for each mode and prioritize safety? (25:23)
  • What will riding an autonomous vehicle be like in 2050? (32:25)

In This Episode You Will Learn: 

  • What role asset mapping plays in improving road and general travel conditions. (2:53)
  • What aspects of the future of transportation are most exciting to Daniel. (6:50)
  • How autonomous vehicle services may differ within a city versus on a regional scale. (13:23)
  • How humans are slowing down the integration of autonomous vehicles. (16:54)
  • How simulations are used to model traffic and the “what ifs” of driving in a city. (21:55)
  • How having multiple modes of transportation will provide equitable access to transportation. (26:52)
  • How Daniel would like to see autonomous vehicle development evolve. (31:08)

Daniel Sullivan , Assistant Director of Policy MassDOT - Guest

Daniel Sullivan , Assistant Director of Policy MassDOT – Guest

Daniel Sullivan has served for five years as the Assistant Director of Policy at MassDOT. Daniel leads policy development and stakeholder engagement across a diverse range of inter-agency issues, from emerging transportation technologies to housing and cybersecurity. Daniel manages the Commonwealth’s initiatives on automated driving systems (ADS) and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). He administers the State ADS testing program in close partnership with the Highway and Registry of Motor Vehicles and leads interagency and interstate collaborations, and research initiatives for emerging transportation technologies. Daniel holds a BS in Civil Engineering and an MS in Urban and Regional Policy from Northeastern University. 

Ed Bernardon – Vice President Strategic Automotive Initiatives – Host

Ed Bernardon – Vice President Strategic Automotive Initiatives – Host

Responsibilities include strategic planning and business development in areas of design of autonomous/connected vehicles in urban and racing environments, lightweight automotive structures and interiors. He is also responsible for Future Car thought leadership which includes development of cross divisional projects. Previously, a founding member of VISTAGY that developed light-weight structure and automotive interior design software acquired by Siemens in 2011, previously he directed the Automation and Design Technology Group at MIT Draper Laboratory.

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