Monday, March 22, 2021 | 4:00 PM EDT - 5:15 PM EDT

Zoom webinar | John Wall, Michael Yuan, Karlyn Stanley

In recent years, autonomous vehicles (AV) have moved from the world of science fiction to reality. While fully self-driving cars may be a decade or two away, robotaxis and driverless buses are already here. The advent of AVs offers enormous opportunities, but will also bring great disruption to the overall transportation market. China and the United States are both moving rapidly to take advantage of these exciting changes. What are the major innovations we will see over the next ten years? How can U.S. and Chinese corporations collaborate in this growing market? And how can our two governments, at the local and national levels, handle the challenges AVs present?

On March 22, 2021, the National Committee held a virtual program with Mr. John Wall, Mr. Michael Yuan, and Ms. Karlyn Stanley to discuss the state of autonomous vehicle development and regulation in the United States and China.

Below are the five key takeaways from the presentation:

  • Michael Yuan: Whereas American companies focus on enhancing vehicle intelligence to approach the level of human drivers – through perception and learning – allowing the vehicle to rely completely on its own sensors and decision-making control systems, China’s focus is on creating network-connected autonomous driving systems; this approach relies on high speed, low-latency wireless communication technologies such as 5G in order to exchange data between onboard sensors and surrounding information sources.
  • John Wall: In order to address emerging challenges in autonomous vehicle development, specifically regarding creating an ecosystem and promoting standardization, American companies are working on developing a relationship with cloud providers that are dominant in China.
  • Karlyn Stanley: One challenge for the United States and China regarding autonomous vehicle development is regulation, not only in terms of requirements by different nation states, but also because of differences in standardization within national borders. This variation across states or provinces make it very difficult for a global automaker to standardize the technologies and data capture within the vehicles.
  • Michael Yuan: The leading companies in autonomous driving technology in the United States and China are Google and Baidu, respectively. Google’s Waymo division is committed to developing its own autonomous driving technology similar to Apple’s iOS operating system, and then applying it to various types of vehicles and business models to build the ecosystem and maintain control. Baidu Apollo offers open-source software and a free simulation test platform to companies with the goal of collecting large amounts of data, continuously improving its AI algorithm, and attracting more companies to its ecosystem.
  • John Wall: In the United States and China, testing has increasingly involved simulations with a growing emphasis on developing specific safety standards. There is room for the United States and China to define technology standards in security, safety operations, privacy, and data protection jointly.

Karlyn Stanley

Karlyn Stanley is a lawyer and senior policy analyst at RAND Corporation and an adjunct professor in the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She is the principal author of Autonomous Vehicles and the Future of Auto Insurance, a RAND report published in December 2020. In 2013, she was appointed to the Emerging Technology Law Committee of the Transportation Research Board, part of the National Academies of Sciences, Medicine and Engineering, and has been the co-chair of the legal planning committee for the Transportation Research Board’s Automated Vehicles Symposium for the past five years. Prior to joining RAND, Ms. Stanley was a partner in a Washington, D.C., technology law firm, where she counseled clients on wireless communications and emerging technologies. Ms. Stanley began her legal career as a trial attorney in the Fraud Section, Criminal Division, at the U.S. Department of Justice. She joined RAND in 2012. Ms. Stanley received her B.A. in political science from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law.

John Wall

John Wall is the senior vice president and head of QNX Operations, a subsidiary of BlackBerry; he is responsible for the direction and overall activities for the company. He oversees the planning, design, and development of QNX Software Systems’ products, and the direction of its engineering services programs, including design consulting and custom engineering, to support QNX customers in bringing their products to market. Mr. Wall has been an integral member of the QNX team since 1993. He has held a variety of roles within the organization, including vice president of Engineering and Services. Mr. Wall is a graduate of Carleton University in Ottawa and holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

Michael Yuan

Michael Yuan serves as senior vice president and general manager of Thundersoft America Corporation. He is also the SVP and general manager of Thundercomm America Corporation, a joint venture between Qualcomm and Thunder Software Technology. Mr. Yuan started his career as an AT&T Bell Labs engineer and now works for a Chinese publicly traded company headquartered in Beijing, which gives him a unique perspective on technology advances in both the United States and China. As the head of Thundersoft and Thundercomm North America, Mr. Yuan delivers strategic consulting, new product development, and advanced technical solutions focusing on the automotive, communication, consumer electronics, and IoT (Internet of Things) industries. His organization helps customers transform businesses through intelligent device design, product development, complex system implementations, and continuous technical support. Mr. Yuan holds an MBA degree from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and an MS degree in computer science from the Illinois Institute of Technology.