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City hires first robot car czar

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 by Caleb Pritchard

The Austin Transportation Department has hired Jason JonMichael to serve as its new assistant director of smart mobility. A press release announcing the news touts JonMichael as “a transportation technology expert with specialized experience in connected, automated, and electric vehicle research, deployment, and program development.” He apparently gained some of this experience at his most recent gig as a national technology leader for HNTB Corp., the engineering firm that, among other things, served as the consultant for Project Connect’s failed light rail proposal in 2014. In his new role, “JonMichael will lead a cross-functional team of mobility, technology, policy, data, and user experience specialists to deliver outcomes that improve mobility, safety and access to Austin residents,” the city’s press release declares. In other words, he will help implement the vision laid out in the city’s Smart Mobility Roadmap, the City Council-ordered document that serves as a keystone of sorts for a potential future of shared electric autonomous vehicles. “I’m excited about the opportunity to leverage my expertise, passion and experience in the transportation industry to provide meaningful mobility improvements to my hometown of Austin,” JonMichael said.

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