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The Fifth Annual Pennsylvania Automated Vehicle Summit Returns In-Person with Great Success

November 03, 2022 12:00 PM
By: Hannah Formica

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​The fifth Pennsylvania Automated Vehicle Summit took place October 25 and 26 at Stage AE this year in Pittsburgh, the heart of the AV industry in Pennsylvania. The two-day event returned with great success to in-person with over 150 attendees ranging from students to executives joining the conversation. The energy of the attendees and excitement of the speakers was a testament to the passion that this industry runs on.

The summit itself is the largest dedicated automated vehicle conference in the northeast region, bringing together both public and private industries. In addition to discussing the innovative technology, this year focused on the equally important topics of an emerging workforce and ensuring equity and sustainability of automation.

"The PA AV Summit aims to serve as a forum for public and private industries to talk and listen to one another and find common areas to move toward the future," said Mark Kopko, director of PennDOT's Office of Transformational Technology, in his opening remarks.

"We cannot make forward progress without hearing diverse perspectives and viewpoints that may otherwise be blind spots for our industry," Kopko continued. "We intend to lift these voices up and provide them with the opportunity to lead the important conversations at hand."


The summit's lineup of speakers shows the length and breadth of the industry. The keynote speakers for the two days included PennDOT Secretary Yasmin Gramian, Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) Executive Director Tara Andringa, Aurora Co-Founder Sterling Anderson, SAE International President of Sustainable Mobility Solutions Frank Menchaca, and COO of ITS America Kristin White. Additionally, there were four panelist sessions with leaders on the topics of Emerging Workforce, AV Deployment, Equity and Environment, and CAV Infrastructure.

Gramian and Andringa held a discussion outlining the state of the industry and PennDOT's role in advancing the technology – which includes working to create a transportation system that improves safety, expands mobility options, is environmentally sustainable, and is more equitable.

They also discussed how enhancing public understanding and awareness of the technology and its benefits is important, continued work. PAVE is a broad coalition of leading industry, non-profit and academic institutions that aims to inform the public and policymakers about the potential and the reality of advanced vehicle technologies. PAVE's coalition of leaders, led by Andringa, are dedicated to raising the level of public understanding and awareness about the technology and its potential benefits.

According to Andringa, "60 percent of people surveyed on AV deployment were either negative or hesitant about the technology."

Both leaders agreed that the technology and terminology can be confusing to those who do not work directly in the industry, and there is a disconnect between the groups who create and advance it, those who market it, and the legislators and leaders who talk to the public about it. PAVE is working to overcome those challenges by educating the public and providing more exposure to the technology.

Given the demonstrated economic benefits realized in the Pittsburgh region from the industry so far, the summit continues the state's broad commitment to safely advancing the technology. The message of the summit overall encourages everyone from all different backgrounds to join in and support this industry as it moves to transform transportation to be more affordable, equitable and accessible.

To learn more about the summit and the future of automated vehicles in Pennsylvania, visit paavsummit.org. Additional information can be found at penndot.pa.gov/AV.


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