Updated from 2:34 p.m. with additional information.
Executives from Apple (AAPL - Get Report) , Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) and Alphabet's (GOOGL - Get Report) self-driving car unit, Waymo, will all serve on the U.S. Department of Transportation's new advisory committee on automation.
The committee, which has its first meeting on Jan. 16, is expected to focus on the development and deployment of automated technologies and how advancements may shape future research, policy and regulations under the DOT. The DOT noted that automation is expected to have wide-ranging effects across transportation, including cars, buses, trains, planes and drones.
A host of Silicon Valley executives are listed as being members of the 25-person group, including Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives; Gerry Murphy, Amazon's senior corporate counsel of aviation; Waymo CEO John Krafcik; Rachel Holt, Uber's regional general manager of the U.S. and Canada; and Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer. Douglas Chey, senior vice president of systems development at Hyperloop One, which has ties to Tesla Motors (TSLA - Get Report) and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, is also a part of the committee.
"This new automation committee will work to advance life-saving innovations while boosting our economy and making our transportation network more fair, reliable and efficient," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement.
The announcement comes eight days before President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration. Trump has selected Elaine Chao, who was labor secretary under President George W. Bush, to serve as transportation secretary.
In her Senate confirmation hearing yesterday, Chao said she hopes to explore emerging technologies such as drones, autonomous vehicles and connected infrastructure. Chao pointed out that the government's role in those emerging technologies is "still very much in its infancy," but said she's open to discussing self-driving car technology with automakers, as well as sparking a national conversation about where drone technologies are headed.
Apple, Amazon and Alphabet's Waymo all have their hands in autonomous vehicle technology in one way or another.
In November, Apple's director of product integrity, Steve Kenner, penned a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration saying that it was "investing heavily" in machine learning and transportation automation. Kenner didn't provide any details on ongoing projects in the letter.
The Cupertino, CA-based company has been rumored to be developing a self-driving car, as part of a project named Project Titan, since 2014. In September, however, Apple reportedly laid off dozens of employees working on the project, signaling that it may be moving toward creating autonomous vehicle software rather than building its own vehicle. Apple has also reportedly held talks with Daimler and BMW (BMWYY) about developing a semi-autonomous car, but later abandoned them.
For its part, Alphabet announced last December that it would spin off its autonomous driving unit to become Waymo. Waymo in talks with Honda Motor Co. (HMC - Get Report) about putting integrating its self-driving car technology.