Former NHTSA official Nat Beuse who was responsible for automated-vehicle development at the agency has been appointed as the new head of safety for ride-hailing giant Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group.
As part of a handful of changes to its executive team, the company announced his promotion on Thursday. In December, Beuse had joined the company as the director of self-driving vehicle standards, a role that focussed on developing validation criteria and network acceptance standards.
Ahead of Uber, Beuse served as the associate administrator for vehicle safety research.
Former safety head Noah Zych will remain with the company as chief for Uber ATG. Taking charge of his new responsibilities, Beuse will further develop Uber’s “safety cause”. The company described the systematic process in a voluntary safety assessment that was submitted to the NHTSA as “a convincing and comprehensive argument that our self-driving system is safe to operate. A successful safety case convinces stakeholders that the risk of harm from a system has been reduced to an acceptable level.”
During his time at the NHTSA, Beuse served as the associate administrator for vehicle safety research and helped craft the first federal automated vehicle policy presented by the regulatory agency. In addition to this, he also oversaw the agency’s in-house Vehicle Research and Testing Center in East Liberty, Ohio, where NHTSA worked to establish its foundational understanding of automated vehicles.
This news comes in the same week as the American ride-hailing company announced that talks to hire its Dubai-based rival Careem were being finalised. In a $3.1 billion deal, The company is expected to pay $1.4 billion in cash and $1.7 billion in convertible notes for Careem. Reports suggest that these convertible notes will be priced equal to $55 per share.
Uber halted its autonomous vehicle operation after a pedestrian was killed by its test autonomous cars on March 18, marking the first death involving a fully self-driving car. After a brief period of silence, it has now resumed its operations while building back trust among the authorities.