As the future of self-driving cars becomes a reality, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is now looking for a few bright lights to join its Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation (ACAT).

According to the DOT, it is seeking 15 people for ACAT that have expertise on such topics as robotics, intelligent transportation systems, enhanced freight movement, air traffic control and advanced transportation technology deployment.

Committee members will serve two-year terms, with a maximum of two consecutive term re­-appointments.

The government says that ACAT is being struck in order to provide the transportation department with advisory assistance when developing policy around automated transportation.

“This committee will help determine how, when, and where automated technology will transform the way we move,” said Anthony Foxx, U.S. Transportation Secretary. “The Department has advanced some of the life-saving benefits of automated technologies, including automated vehicle policy, but we are looking outside the government for innovative and thoughtful leaders to uncover its full potential across all modes.”

Committee members will be kept busy evaluating the DOT’s current policy, research and regulatory support for the continued advancement of autonomous vehicles.

As well, those on the committee will help with information gathering, developing technical advice and giving recommendations to the Secretary.

Technologies that the DOT expects the committee to review include: aviation automated navigation systems technologies; unmanned aircraft systems; automated and connected road and transit vehicle technologies; railroad automated technologies; advanced deployment in surface transportation environments; and enhanced freight movement technologies.

Committee needs to keep an eye on the future

Lastly, the DOT expects committee members will also be tackling future technologies, to prepare the DOT for the impact of disruptive “not-yet-conceived” innovations.

The DOT’s decision to develop the autonomous transport committee comes as a recent poll found that Americans as a whole are becoming more amendable to these vehicles.

A survey by Consumer Technology Association found that 70% of Americans are ready for an autonomous future.

This marks one of the first large surveys to show an overall positive reception for self-driving cars.

Previous results have shown mixed or negative views on full automation, and a worry that self-driving cars will not be able to make the correct decisions at key times.

Interested? Then get in touch with DOT at [email protected].