May 18, 2021 Press Release

Auto Innovators Highlights Industry Leading Safety Innovations

Alliance for Automotive Innovation Hosts Latest ‘Future Driven Forum’ with Sector Leaders


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Alliance for Automotive Innovation (Auto Innovators) today hosted a discussion with industry leaders about modernizing the nation’s approach to advancing vehicle safety technologies. The event was part of the Autos 2050 “Future Driven” forum series, which explores issues at the cutting edge of the auto industry. Today’s discussion centered on working to eliminate the potential misuse of safety features, consumer acceptance of advanced safety technologies, and what advanced safety technologies mean for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

Joining Auto Innovators President and CEO John Bozzella for the digital discussion were Robert Kempf, Vice President of Strategy, Portfolio and Business Development ADAS/Automated Driving at HARMAN International; Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind; and Desi Ujkashevic, Global Director of the Automotive Safety Office at Ford Motor Company.

As cars become more automated, they will expand mobility for the elderly and those with disabilities,” said Auto Innovators’ John Bozzella. “As an industry, one of our tasks is to increase consumer and public acceptance of these technologies. That means helping drivers understand what these technologies do, as well as their limitations. That’s the only way we’ll be able to realize these benefits as quickly as possible.”

A key to realizing the benefits of advanced safety technologies is through modernizing the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). Last month, Auto Innovators released its Plan to Advance Safety at the Speed of Innovation to guide the National Highway Safety Administration in its work to achieve that goal.

“NCAP is one of the essential building blocks because it drives modernization.   It drives a common use of terms across different geographies, which helps a lot to get this common understanding in place,” said HARMAN International’s Robert Kempf. “From our perspective, it’s really one of the essential building blocks to minimize or really get rid of this confusion we see in the marketplace about driver-assist systems.”

Panelists also weighed in on the current advanced safety technologies in the automotive industry and future safety goals for the industry.

“So often in technology or with other things, people with disabilities are the last to be considered so for me the optimism comes from the fact that we’re at the table from the early stages,” said National Federation of the Blind’s Mark Riccobono. “It’s important to engage consumers in conversations, even though as blind people, we are not traditionally in the driving class. It’s important that we create opportunities for people to know about these technologies and experience these technologies.”

“Our industry has been disrupted by technologies in a way that I think 10 years ago none of us could have imagined,” said Ford Motor Company’s Desi Ujkashevic. “But it affords us an opportunity to be a part of reshaping mobility and transportation to increase accessibility to everyone.”

The auto industry is in a period of extraordinary transformation. Advanced safety technologies are driving the industry forward toward a safer, smarter, and cleaner future for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. The development of these technologies also provides opportunities for job creation and helps the United States retain its position as a global leader in innovative automotive technologies. If you missed today’s discussion, you can view it here.

Auto Innovators has continued to host exciting conversations and outline key measures needed for the success of a competitive auto industry in a series of documents including its recently released Driver Monitoring Principles, the Electric Vehicle Agenda, the Innovation Agenda, and the AV Policy Roadmap.