Ariel S. Wolf

Ariel Wolf

Ariel Wolf is chair of Venable’s Autonomous and Connected Mobility Group, where he counsels clients facing complex legal and policy issues at the intersection of automation, electrification, connectivity, data privacy, and cybersecurity. Ariel is a recognized thought leader who works closely with vehicle manufacturers, technology companies, advanced equipment suppliers, and software developers to navigate the emerging landscape being transformed by autonomous vehicles (AVs) and mobility technology.

Ariel's legal work includes serving as general counsel to the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association (AVIA), the nation’s leading coalition of AV developers, to advance federal, state, and international regulatory priorities for the AV industry. He provides sophisticated legal counseling to clients through the application of general transportation law to novel use cases and technologies, and is a seasoned advocate who represents clients before agencies that include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Previously, as a senior official in the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Ariel launched the Department's Non-traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council, oversaw the Department's efforts on spectrum policy, and developed policies governing automated vehicles, drones, hyperloop, and other innovative technologies.

In addition to his legal work, Ariel leverages nearly two decades of government affairs experience to engage with federal and state policymakers and negotiate regulatory frameworks that govern AVs and related emerging mobility technology. He has testified before the U.S. Congress and across the country on autonomous and connected vehicle legislation and is frequently quoted by national media outlets on transportation developments. Ariel is a member of Venable’s Privacy Group and his work has been recognized by Legal 500.


Government Experience

  • Counselor to the deputy secretary (Senior Executive Service), United States Department of Transportation
  • Senior Policy Advisor, United States Senate
  • Associate Staff, United States Senate, Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations

Representative Matters

Regulatory Engagement and Advocacy

  • Represented a leading truck manufacturer in obtaining joint Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approval for an exemption to requirements affecting the attachment of advanced sensor technology to commercial motor vehicles
  • Obtained interpretation from the NHTSA chief counsel permitting use of client’s technology under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard related to lighting equipment installed on passenger motor vehicles
  • Advanced novel regulatory concepts on behalf of a mobility technology developer that were included in the USDOT’s proposed update to the New Car Assessment Program
  • Representing a Tier 1 automotive supplier on autonomous, connected, and electrification vehicle regulation; spectrum policy; autonomous vehicle supply chain matters; cybersecurity and privacy; and antitrust policy before NHTSA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
  • Representing vehicle manufacturers, software companies, and automotive service providers, drafted and submitted dozens of technical comments on regulatory proposals pending before the USDOT and its related agencies, as well as state transportation agencies, commissions, and related regulatory bodies

Compliance Counseling

  • Counseling automotive and technology supply chain clients on emerging and evolving legal issues in the connectivity, driver-assist, and autonomous vehicle markets, including those related to state and federal liability, safety standards, electrification, privacy and cybersecurity, and federal procurement
  • Representing a publicly traded sensor manufacturer and software developer on a range of regulatory and corporate matters, including strategic guidance on autonomous vehicles, ADAS, advanced robotics, and unmanned aircraft system supply chain matters
  • Advising an international vehicle manufacturer with revenues exceeding $40 billion on the development and enhancement of its U.S. safety strategy and policy priorities
  • Advising a transportation solutions and logistics company on data ownership issues arising from agreements with vehicle manufacturers with which it engaged in early-phase autonomous vehicle programs
  • Assessing federal and state motor vehicle obligations and standards affecting vehicle design and operation for a well-funded, fully electric motor vehicle startup in stealth mode

Industry Trade Associations and Coalitions

  • Serving as general counsel to the Self-Driving Coalition, the leading association for the autonomous vehicle industry in the United States. Advises the Coalition on all legal and policy issues affecting the AV industry at the federal, state, and local levels; testifies before legislative and regulatory bodies on the Coalition’s behalf; and serves as spokesperson for the Coalition in all media environments. Under this direction, the Coalition has tripled in size and launched new workstreams related to autonomous trucking and international AV standards development
  • Convened the Lidar Coalition, an entity comprised of U.S. and international manufacturers of automotive lidar, to provide a forum for advancing regulatory and policy initiatives before the USDOT and Congress
  • Served as lead counsel for a consortium of companies in negotiations with representatives from congressional committees, and organized labor regarding crash data reporting requirements for commercial vehicles




  • J.D. Georgetown University Law Center 2011
  • B.A. Harvard College 2005

Bar Admissions

  • Maryland
  • District of Columbia


  • Chambers USA, Transportation: Road (automotive), Nationwide, 2024
  • Legal 500,
    • Next Generation Partners, Transport - Rail and Road: Litigation and Regulation, 2024
    • Media, Technology and Telecoms – Cyber Law (including data privacy and data protection), 2020 – 2021
  • Financial Times, Innovative Lawyers Finalist, 2023