LITTLE ROCK – Underneath a projection screen showcasing the future of transportation with futuristic electric vehicles, a drone delivering products to a customer, and autonomous delivery trucks currently operating in Bentonville, Governor Asa Hutchinson proclaimed that Arkansas will continue to lead the world with smart mobility, today he signed an Executive Order that establishes the Arkansas Council on Future Mobility.
Cyrus Sigari, co-founder of UP Partners, will serve as chairman of the council, which will include representatives from Walmart, Canoo, J.B. Hunt, Entergy, Arkansas Trucking Association, Arkansas Auto Dealers Association, the University of Arkansas, Southern Arkansas University Tech, and several state agencies.
“Today will lay the foundation for Arkansas’s leadership in the transportation industry for decades to come,” Governor Hutchinson said, “Arkansas is already home to a growing number of mobility companies that are investing and operating in the state.”
The primary roles of the council will be to identify state laws that create barriers to advanced mobility and make policy recommendations and ideas for incentives that will support the development of advanced mobility. They will also be actively searching for opportunities to work with innovative companies and create partnerships with businesses looking to push the future of mobility. The council will submit a final report to the Governor by November 30, 2022.
The governor said that because of the advancements in mobility Arkansas needs this council to continue to be a national and world leader in this sector. By making the proper infrastructure investments it will accelerate building the effective framework to continue to create economic opportunities. The council will keep Arkansas as a global leader in the development of advanced mobility for the future.
“In Arkansas, we take on some of the biggest challenges,” Governor Hutchinson said. “We work for solutions and that is what this council is doing. We want to lead in future mobility.”
The industry of advanced mobility has already been in motion with companies like Walmart and Gatik being the first to have fully autonomous box trucks driving in retail operations. Since 2021 they have driven over 200,000 autonomous miles and were the first to remove the safety operator from the driver seat.
Canoo, an electric vehicle manufacturer that recently opened its headquarters and industrialization facility in Arkansas, was able to showcase its future with the purpose-built pickup truck that runs on electricity. Governor Hutchinson was able to step into the future by sitting in the driver’s seat of the electric vehicle from Canoo.