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March 2018

We need all hands on deck to help shape the DMV of the future

Last fall, the National Governors Association (U.S.) launched “NGA Future,” an initiative to give governors insights into potentially disruptive technologies that are three to five years away. Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are in their sightline.

The governors’ message is clear and one that our chief administrators have adopted: Embrace the opportunity AVs present to our customers, and be proactive in receiving and advancing the technology while preserving safety for road users.

The vision that self-driving vehicles will improve mobility and safety for all is enticing, yet the path to get there is far from clear. Safety norms are tested with the prospect of mixed fleets operating on the same roadways, i.e., human-operated and self- driving vehicles interacting side by side. Traditional relationships and procedures are disrupted along the way, challenging our workforce and forcing us to think differently.

For example, what is the DMV of the future when the vehicle itself becomes the vehicle operator instead of a driver? Who or what are our driver examiners testing? How does a law enforcement officer stop a vehicle that has no driver? What takes the place of rules of the road that were written for “horseless carriages?” Whose rules prevail—federal, state or local—and under what conditions? How is a vehicle with shared ownership and shared operation insured? What about our workforce? How are we preparing them to understand how to respond to the variable levels of vehicle autonomy, and what training should auto technicians receive to repair these software-driven operating systems? What happens to insurers, recyclers, auto dealers and so on? The list of disrupted relationships goes on and on.

In January, AAMVA’s Autonomous Vehicles Working Group met to finalize a framework to help states answer these questions in a consistent manner. Working Group members dedicated a full week to interpreting these challenging issues. Their meeting took place during the Mobility Talks conference and the Washington Auto Show, where they saw some of the newest technologies firsthand, attended a public hearing on AVs held by the U.S. Congress’ Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and heard from international experts and stakeholders.

So what does any of this have to do with the other featured topic in this issue of MOVE magazine, organizational health and culture? Plenty!

We need all hands on deck in order to make the most of this unique opportunity to reshape relationships and requirements disrupted by the uncertainty AV technology brings. An organization with a healthy work culture allows employees to perform at their full potential, and not be fearful of making a mistake or always looking over their shoulders.

AAMVA’s members deliver critical government services to achieve the vision of safe drivers, safe vehicles, secure identities and saving lives. To do so effectively in this rapidly changing world, we will do well to practice the principles of servant leadership described by AAMVA Chair Kurt Myers in his Taillights column on page 32. In this way, we cultivate a workplace that enables our employees to bring their best to the challenging tasks ahead.

Anne Ferro
President & CEO, AAMVA