Inside Plus: Wiley Deck, Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy
Before joining Plus, Wiley spent more than 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 inspired you to take a job with the autonomous trucking 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 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 were seeing a 60% reduction in rear end collisions and a 90% reduction in the severity of crashes.
That impact from 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 trucking companies and autonomous driving companies. Joining an industry leader in autonomous trucking like Plus allows me to leverage my deep experience to bring this transformational technology to market, which I’m really excited to do.”
Q: What do you find compelling about the Plus approach to commercializing autonomous trucks?
“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 very 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 trucks 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 did your experience working in the legislative and executive branch prepare you for your current role?
“What I bring to the table is my deep knowledge around the legislative process: the crafting of bills that set down the policies that 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 with the AV rulemaking that started with the last administration and that the new administration is going to continue.
Essentially I can use my experience to suggest pathways that are good for the industry, good for Plus, good for the driving public, and good for 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 and trucks on California roads as they do for passenger vehicles.”
Q: Describe the experience of riding in a PlusDrive-enabled truck
“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 truck. You are not seeing monitors everywhere. It is very clean and sophisticated looking.
One of the best ways to describe riding in a truck with this system is it’s boring, which is as it should be. You don’t want exciting in an 80,000 pound truck.”
Q: How do you spend your downtime?
“I have two kids, so that keeps me busy. When I’m not doing family stuff, I tinker on cars. I like to go camping and white water rafting. I always have a couple of books going, mostly sci-fi. I’ve always been very much a technophile, so it’s not surprising that I ended up at an AV trucking company.”
Plus is hiring. Follow Plus on LinkedIn for more updates on our journey to shape the future of autonomous trucking.