2017 Washington Auto Show

This week I participated
in two events at the Washington Auto Show. Tuesday, I gave opening remarks at MobilityTalks
International and on Thursday gave the keynote address on Public Policy and
Media Day.  

The first Washington
Auto Show, in 1921, introduced the public to the newly developed “horseless
carriage.” Ninety-six years later, the Washington Auto Show highlighted a driverless car.
The amazing advances in automobile technology resulted from creative thinking,
hard work, and investment in basic research. I am proud of NSF’s role in
enabling innovations such as backup cameras, collision avoidance sensor
technology and speech activation and recognition technology.

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Several of
the “Ten Big Ideas for Future Investment” that NSF recently identified are tied
to developments in the auto industry—the human-technology interface; smart cars
with lane-assist systems, automatic parking, and GPS to avoid traffic; vehicle-to-infrastructure
communications.

I thank Carnegie
Mellon University and professor Raj Rajkumar, who drove his NSF-supported
autonomous Cadillac CRX to the Washington Auto show. His car helped showcase
the impact NSF has had on transportation and the role can play in autonomous
technology.

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Since the time of the horseless carriage, new
areas of research have arisen to advance our technologies. Research has become
more cross-disciplinary. With a sustained commitment to supporting the work of
cutting-edge research, I envision attendees of the 2117 Washington Auto Show looking
at the driverless car the way we look at the horseless carriage.