NASHVILLE – An impressive group of business leaders looking at how to facilitate the recruitment of research and development for autonomous vehicles met yesterday in Nashville led by Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville). The group is made up of autonomous vehicle industry leaders, members of the Chamber of Commerce and other civic organizations, representatives of the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and city and local government officials. It includes representatives from Google, Nissan, Volkswagen, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Uber and Lyft.

The group discussed legislation Green is proposing to establish a business climate that encourages Autonomous Vehicle testing and production. The group will amend the bill to accomplish the shared mission of facilitating the recruitment of research and development, testing and the manufacture of autonomous vehicles and related technologies in Tennessee. They also discussed the need to identify any barriers to testing and research and development in the state.

“Tennessee is surging as an automotive leader in the U.S. and the development of autonomous vehicles is a natural next step as we continue to move to the forefront worldwide,” said Senator Green, who is Vice-Chairman of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee. “Many of the issues we identified cannot be addressed in this session of the legislature. We essentially brainstormed the issues we will confront, some in this session and then others through further study this summer.”

From how the vehicles can talk to one another, to how they interact with roadways, the technologies’ rapid advancement requires a forward looking team constantly addressing the issues as they evolve. Tennessee is currently a leader in automotive manufacturing but has very little research and development in the state.

“Our goal is for Tennessee to lead the nation in the advancement of this technology. Ultimately we want Tennesseans employed dreaming, designing, and manufacturing the cars of tomorrow,” noted Green.

“There is a real opportunity for Tennessee to lead in the research and development of autonomous vehicles. The chamber supports these efforts and will lend our assistance where we can,” said Ralph Schultz, CEO of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce.

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