SAE Government/Industry Meeting — Back in Action

After pivoting to a Digital Summit in 2021, the SAE Government/Industry Meeting was back in action for 2022, bringing engineers, policy makers, students, and the Washington Auto Show together once again.

This event is a mainstay for mobility specialists in the Washington, D.C., area, and for those who work in safety and environment policy globally. This year it was host to crucial discussions, from safety topics such as how to safely introduce advanced levels of driver assistance and automation to environmental topics such as how the grid and charging infrastructure will affect the future of electric vehicles.

Government partners from the White House, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were among the attendees. They were joined by industry partners in automotive, fleet, testing, research, and consumer groups. It’s a unique mix of perspectives that have been stirred together since 1984 when “GIM” — or “Gov-Ind,” as some call it — started.I had the pleasure of chairing this conference in 2021, which brought together many of the same people, albeit virtually. I’ve been a regular attendee for decades, but this year felt even more energizing than usual, as it was the first time many of us had seen each other in person for nearly two years. We were able to share a coffee, and even socially distanced lunch, with our friends in the industry. It was long overdue. And got a lot of dormant discussions brewing again.

But maybe the best part of the meeting being back in-person was getting to be surrounded by the tangible products from our field. This included Baja SAE and Formula SAE cars built by university students who joined us for a day of the conference, listening in on technical sessions they very well may one day be presenting at. The students were brought in by the Washington, D.C., Section, which handed checks to each of teams during the event, sponsoring their future builds and racing plans. And then capping it all off, a reception on the Washington Auto Show floor, where we saw the newest innovations in physical form. I kicked a few tires myself and soaked in how much we, personally, and as an industry, have endured since the last time we all had that opportunity.

A special thanks to the Washington, D.C., Section, the many session organizers who volunteer their time and experience, and to the SAE staff who have had stayed steadfast is bringing us together despite having to completely reimagine in-person events.

Jennifer Morrison of Mazda wrote this article for Update. The former chair of the SAE Washington D.C. Section has been a regular attendee, participant, and co-organizer of the Government/Industry Meeting.