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Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy pres.

Opportunities and challenges of autonomous vehicles: Role of governments?

Christopher A. Hart, Founder, Hart Solutions LLC, and Former Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board

Christopher A. Hart Christopher A. Hart
Christopher A. Hart
Free and open to the public. Reception to follow.

Automation has been significantly improving safety, efficiency, and throughput in aviation for decades. Automation in autonomous vehicles (AVs) offers similar improvement potential on our streets and highways. Automation on the ground, however, will be far more complex and challenging than in aviation. Given existing skepticism about AVs, crashes that could have been avoided by paying attention to lessons learned in aviation are particularly unfortunate because they will delay implementation of these life-saving technologies. In addition, the AV industry will face many automation challenges that were not encountered in aviation. The transformative changes from AVs will introduce major changes and challenges for federal, state and local governments.

Christopher A. Hart is the founder of Hart Solutions LLP, which specializes in improving safety in a variety of contexts, including the safety of automation in motor vehicles, workplace safety, and process safety in potentially hazardous industries.

Mr. Hart is also Chairman of the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, a three-jurisdictional agency (MD, VA, DC) that was created to oversee the safety of the Washington area mass transit subway system. He was also asked by the Federal Aviation Administration to lead the Joint Authorities Technical Review that was created bring together the certification authorities of 10 countries, as well as NASA, to review the robustness of the FAA certification of the flight control systems of the Boeing 737 MAX and make recommendations as needed to improve the certification process.

Until February 2018 Mr. Hart was a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). In March, 2015, he was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate to be Chairman, which he was until March, 2017. Prior to that he was Vice Chairman, after being nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009 and 2013. The NTSB investigates major transportation accidents in all modes of transportation, determines probable cause, and makes recommendations to prevent recurrences. He was previously a Member of the NTSB in 1990, having been nominated by (the first) President Bush.

Mr. Hart’s previous positions include:
Deputy Director, Air Traffic Safety Oversight Service, Federal Aviation Administration,
Assistant Administrator for System Safety, FAA,
Deputy Administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
Deputy Assistant General Counsel to the Department of Transportation,
Managing partner of Hart & Chavers, a Washington, D.C., law firm, and
Attorney with the Air Transport Association.

Mr. Hart has a law degree from Harvard Law School and a Master’s Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree (magna cum laude) in Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association, and he is a pilot with commercial, multi-engine, and instrument ratings.
Christopher A. Hart Christopher A. Hart
Christopher A. Hart
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