March 17, 2021
SAE SmartBrief
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Need to Know
House lawmakers have introduced a bill that would help regions not served by airlines develop high-speed rail lines. The $205 billion included in the bill would be spread over five years, and supporters say it would create more than 2.6 million jobs.
Full Story: Smart Cities Dive (3/16) 
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Mobility News & Trends
Public transit needs to incorporate contactless technology for reasons that go beyond public health, writes Modeshift CEO Miroslav Katsarov. According to Katsarov, the new technology will attract a younger demographic who want to use public transportation, especially if it offers multimodal options.
Full Story: ATM Marketplace (3/16) 
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US Space Force Gen. David Thompson says the private sector should be contracted to perform services such as "transportation and debris removal" so that the Space Force can maintain focus on national security. "I'll pay by the ton if they can remove debris," Thompson said.
Full Story: Space News International (3/16) 
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Aerial drone footage reveals construction has progressed considerably since work began in July at Tesla's Gigafactory in Austin, Texas. Tesla expects a May "first completion" at the facility, which is set to produce Model 3, Model Y, Cybertruck and Semi vehicles.
Full Story: Electrek (3/12) 
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Volkswagen plans to deploy a "unified cell" platform for batteries for its electric vehicles. "With the new battery strategy, we will make the battery a core business of Volkswagen," said Thomas Schmall, CEO of the automaker's components group.
Full Story: SAE International (3/16) 
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Heavy Duty / Commercial Vehicle
Less-than-truckload, local heavy-duty and light trucking have an easier time finding drivers than long-haul trucking, according to a report by 3PL Coyote Logistics and Emsi. The report also found that as more truck drivers reach retirement age, there are fewer younger people willing to replace them.
Full Story: Supply Chain Digest (3/16) 
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Readers' Poll
If you've shifted to remote work, what are you looking forward to the most when work returns to at least "near normal"?
A solid portion of SAE SmartBrief readers enjoy their short work commutes and prefer remote work perks, according to Monday's poll question. Still, the majority -- nearly 60% -- prefer the interactivity that comes with in-office work and related travel. The coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of upheaval and, as other reports have shown, that includes America's "work."

Getting back on the road -- conferences, business trips and networking, oh my!
Fewer video meetings and virtual conferences
Office camaraderie and collaborating face to face
Bye-bye non-work distractions
Nothing. I've adapted well and hope to stay primarily remote long-term
Regulations & Standards
In the wake of criticism of Tesla's Autopilot feature, the National Transportation Safety Board says the federal government needs tighter controls on automated driving systems. In a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NTSB says "NHTSA's hands-off approach to oversight of AV testing poses a potential risk to motorists and other road users," citing that Tesla is testing its autonomous features on public roads.
Full Story: The Motley Fool (3/12) 
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Smart Cities
Parks in Philadelphia, New York, Denver and other cities have reduced vehicle access and closed parking lots during the pandemic to discourage crowding and provide more space for cyclists, walkers and runners. "Not only was the wide roadway easier for social distancing, but the surface was also better for bikes, scooters and skaters," says Memphis, Tenn., official Nick Oyler about road and parking-lot closures.
Full Story: Parks & Recreation magazine (3/2021) 
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Workforce Development & Leadership
Automotive students at a North Carolina high school will hold three vehicle raffles to help raise money to build an electric car. The class received donated vehicles and performed work on them to prepare them to be sold.
Full Story: Watauga Democrat (Boone, N.C.) (3/17) 
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Cross-Market Collaboration
The pandemic-fueled shift to online shopping led to an additional $183 billion in e-commerce sales over the past year, according to a report from Adobe Analytics. US online retail is on track to generate between $850 billion and $930 billion in 2021, and next year is shaping up to be the industry's first trillion-dollar sales year, the report says.
Full Story: Business Insider (tiered subscription model) (3/15),  Women's Wear Daily (subscription required) (3/15) 
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Are you ready for it?
Self-driving cars and self-flying aircraft are on the horizon, experts say, but human acceptance of the technology could be a sticking point. "I think a lot of people still feel like they want an additional degree of human interaction with a machine instead of relying completely on autonomous machines, but it's going in that direction," said Tommaso Melodia, a professor at Northeastern University.
Full Story: Digital Trends (3/16) 
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SAE News
SAE International is Proud to Celebrate Women Across Industries Today and Always
No matter the industry, diversity matters. That's why we're celebrating the female leaders in autonomy during Women's History Month. Join us March 25, 9 a.m. PT for our virtual event with Velodyn: Disruptive Women Powering Our Autonomous Future.
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The ability to change things is a powerful incentive.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,
economist, international development expert, first female director-general of the World Trade Organization
March is Women's History Month
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