Inside Plus: Wiley Deck, Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy
Before joining Plus, Wiley spent over 25 years helping shape federal transportation policy. He served as Deputy Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), as well as Director of Government Affairs for the agency and senior policy adviser within the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of the Secretary.
Prior to the DOT, Wiley worked in the U.S. House of Representatives as legislative director and chief of staff for Rep. John Mica, the former chair of the House Transportation Committee. Wiley later served as Director of Oversight for that committee.
Wiley’s career overlapped with the rise of regulatory frameworks tied to autonomous vehicles. He served on an Autonomous Vehicle Steering Committee within the Department of Transportation as well as an internal steering committee on autonomous driving technologies for the FMCSA.
Q: What motivated you to enter the autonomous driving industry?
“During my time at FMCSA, we saw an increase in the number of fatalities and tried to figure out what steps the agency should take to work with the industry to turn that around. We heard from fleets that had installed lane assist, emergency braking, and other advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) technologies. They saw a 60% reduction in rear-end collisions and a 90% reduction in the severity of crashes.
The profound impact of the use of advanced technologies really grabbed me. So while I was at the Secretary’s office and FMCSA, I built on that interest and over time developed great relationships with fleets and autonomous driving companies. Joining an industry leader in autonomous driving space like Plus allows me to leverage my deep experience to bring this transformational technology to market, which I’m really excited about.”
Q: What do you find compelling about the Plus approach to commercializing autonomous driving technology?
“I appreciate that Plus’s approach is not to rush to pull the driver out as quickly as we can. Instead, we are taking a methodological, safety-conscious path to get the data we need to statistically prove these systems are safer than human drivers before removing the drivers.
In the meantime, Plus has already started to deliver a driver-in solution, PlusDrive, to customers, so fleets have the opportunity to realize the benefits of automated driving technology without waiting years for Level 4 solutions to become available. This approach allows for the collection of data and demonstrates to regulators and the driving public that these vehicles are safe and the systems are necessary to advance the industry.”
Q: How has your experience in the legislative and executive branches prepared you for your current role?
“What I bring to the table is my deep knowledge of the legislative process: the crafting of bills that set down the policies agencies and departments have to follow.
Serving in the executive branch, at the Department of Transportation and FMCSA, gave me the opportunity to see it from the other side. You really get a feel for the process once you’ve been in federal agencies. I’ve done that with Hours of Service rulemaking and the AV rulemaking that started with the last administration and that the new administration will continue.
Essentially I can use my experience to suggest pathways that are good for the industry, Plus, the driving public, and the country as a whole.”
Q: What regulatory issues are currently on your radar?
“I am tracking the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requirement for the reporting of certain crashes involving automated driver assistance systems and automated vehicles Levels 2-5. While the AV industry is currently required to file timely reports, over the rest of the year, NHTSA will be taking input from the industry and the public as they continue to develop and make revisions to this new requirement.
I am also working on behalf of Plus, with others in the AV industry, to urge the state of California to allow the testing and deployment of autonomous heavy-duty vehicles on California roads as they do for passenger vehicles.”
Q: Can you describe the experience of riding in a PlusDrive-enabled big rig?
“The most interesting aspect of PlusDrive is that if you don’t know what you’re looking at you would not know it had an autonomous driving system in that vehicle. You are not seeing monitors everywhere. It is very clean and sophisticated looking.
One of the best ways to describe riding in a vehicle with this system is it’s boring, which is as it should be. In an 80,000-pound truck, excitement is the last thing you want.”
Q: How do you spend your downtime?
“I have two kids, so they keep me busy. When I’m not engaged in family activities, I enjoy tinkering with cars. I find pleasure in camping and white water rafting. I always have a couple of books on the go, primarily in the science fiction genre. Being a technophile, it’s no surprise I ended up at an AV company.”