Women in Shared Mobility: Autonomous Vehicles with Galina Russell and Jennifer Tisdale

Women in shared mobility autonomous vehicles

This month, we turned back to one of the most popular topics in shared mobility during our Women in Shared Mobility interviews: Autonomous Vehicles. While the technology is essentially ready, the questions around policies, liabilities, and social issues of AV’s still very much exist. In this series, we talked with Galina Russell and Jennifer Tisdale to see what insights they have on autonomous vehicles. If you missed our June edition of WiSM on Policies, read it here.

Women in Shared Mobility: Autonomous Vehicles

The Interviewees:

Galina Russell, Head of Operations at Envoy Technologies

Galina Russell Women in Shared Mobility

1. How will AVs be introduced into our current transportation offerings?

There are two initial entry points for AVs.

One, the substitution of micro-transit public transportation (e.g. public / community shuttles) with autonomous shuttles and busses. This technology is in existence today and is being tested in several cities around the world, such as Stockholm, Sweden.

Another, as an alternative to modes of transportation in existing car-share business models. For example, the introduction of robo-taxis in the place of drivers. This is an easier segue for adoption of autonomous technology because ride-share consumers have already adopted the habit of ‘being driven’ vs. ‘having to drive one-self’.

2. What is the biggest impact of AVs on mobility and our society?

AVs will pioneer the emergence of new mobility ecosystems that are driven by consumer trends. As autonomous technology is combined with application of consumer data, it can re-purpose and tailor mobility routes and frequency to the needs of specific communities to function as on-demand service. This can solve the accessibility to transportation challenge for certain demographics, such as the elderly, who currently do not have easy access to public or private transportation.

As for societal impact, AVs could free as much as 50 minutes a day per traveler. This will impact our daily routines as we substitute that transport time for other purposes such as leisure, learning, work, or consumer activities.

In addition to time savings, we expect a reduction in cost structure across the value chain (e.g. insurance, maintenance) some portion of which will likely be passed to the consumer.

Assuming that fully autonomous technology is ready to deploy, I think the hurdle is really two-fold, first a regulatory challenge and second a societal one.

3. What is the biggest hurdle for AV adoption and how do we overcome it?

A collaborative approach between the public and private sectors that fosters the conversion of public infrastructure to ‘vehicle to infrastructure’ ready environment will be necessary to allow for successful geo-fenced application of automation. This should include creation of new public policies that encourage the general public towards autonomous transportation, as well as privatization of specific segments of public infrastructure supported by budgets that provide incentives (via grants or rebates) to businesses pioneering ‘vehicle to infrastructure’ technology.

AV adoption is however as much of a societal advancement as it is a technological one. It requires the transfer of trust from humans to machines. Creative ways to overcome this will include a phased transition approach, from partial to full autonomy to ease adoption. Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) will play an integral role in preparing regulators, corporations, and consumers for the medium-term reality of vehicles taking over control from drivers.

Galina Russell is the Head of Operations at Envoy Technologies, a California based startup offering community-focused electric vehicle (EV) car-share service. In this role, Galina is responsible for the design and implementation of the company’s operations strategy to scale the deployment of EVs and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) infrastructure nationwide. Connect with Galina here.

Jennifer Tisdale, Director of Connected Mobility and Connected Infrastructure Security programs for GRIMM

Headshot Tisdale.bw Jennifer Tisdale 1

1. How will AVs be introduced into our current transportation offerings?

The introduction of AVs into our current transportation offerings will happen in a very intentional and methodical manner; gently easing the consumer into the convenience of the technology. We are already experiencing a shift in consumer preferences for Bluetooth/WiFi capabilities, automotive ethernet, and ADAS features which can be thought of as the precursor to AV acceptance.

2. What is the biggest impact of AVs on mobility and our society?

If deployed responsibly, AVs will transform society in a positive way by bringing or sustaining independence for an aging and physically impaired population, impacting the way we design cities and communities for maximum “living,” and how we will define vehicle safety. AVs are promoted as the technology that will bring us to “zero.” Zero deaths as a result of a vehicular incident. But we must couple the AV effort with robust cybersecurity initiatives to mitigate unintended risks and deploy AVs responsibly.

3. What is the biggest hurdle for AV adoption and how do we overcome it?

In the not-too-distant future, the biggest hurdle will be the cybersecurity (or cyber-safety) of AVs. Industry is already aware of the risks through demonstrations of security researchers. But, what we have yet to experience, is the outcome of a criminally-intended “hacker” once they identify a way to monetize a vehicle attack or how to impact the functionality of an entire fleet of vehicles with nefarious intentions.

Jennifer Tisdale is the Director of Connected Mobility and Connected Infrastructure Security programs for GRIMM, a cybersecurity research and engineering firm. Previously, Jennifer served as the Program Manager, Product Cybersecurity, R&D for Mazda North America, and executed the vision to develop the Cyber-Mobility program for the State of Michigan’s, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Connect with Jennifer here.


What are your thoughts on Autonomous Vehicles and the regulations surrounding their integration into our cities? If you would like to nominate a woman working in Shared Mobility for our next series, get in touch with us here.

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