autonomous vehicles


Photo: Jaguar MENA

When Will Autonomous Vehicles be Safe Enough? An interview with Professor Missy Cummings

, senior scientist, Clean Vehicles

Professor Mary “Missy” Cummings, former fighter pilot and current director of the Humans and Autonomy Lab at Duke University, is an expert on automated systems. Dr. Cummings has researched and written extensively on the interactions between humans and unmanned vehicles, regulation of AVs, and potential risks of driverless cars. I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Cummings and ask her a few questions about current technological limitations to AV safety and how to use regulation to ensure safety for all Americans, whether they are driving, walking, or biking. Read more >

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Aerial view of urban sprawl in Nevada.
Urban sprawl in Nevada. Photo by USDA NRCS

Explaining Land Use Implications of Autonomous Vehicles: Meet Dr. Jonathan Levine

, Kendall Science Fellow

How AVs and other changes in transportation affect sprawl will depend on policies regarding land use. Why is land use policy important in realizing a positive role for AVs in a clean transportation future? Meet Jonathan Levine, a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Read more >

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Photo: Grendelkhan/Wikimedia Commons

It’s Time to Implement Stronger Autonomous Vehicle Testing Standards

, Kendall Science Fellow

The widespread introduction of autonomous vehicles could potentially bring about many benefits, most importantly the benefit of improved safety. Autonomous vehicles are being tested in several states and provinces, California has been working with testing companies under a regulatory framework, while states like Arizona have allowed free reign to the companies to test the vehicles on the public roads, with a backup human in the driver seat to compensate for any failures in the software. However, what happens if the driver gets distracted and loses focus? Or when the autonomous system doesn’t have a sufficient way of warning the driver that they need to take over? Read more >

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A Waymo self-driving car on the road in Mountain View, CA, making a left turn. CC-BY-2.0 (Wikicommons).

How Important is it for Self-Driving Cars to be Electric?

, senior engineer, Clean Vehicles

The rapid development of self-driving technology has raised many important questions such as the safety of automated vehicles (AVs) and how they could radically alter transportation systems. These are critical questions, but AVs also have the potential to result in significant changes to the global warming emissions from personal transportation. Read more >

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How to Ensure Self-Driving Vehicles Don’t Ruin Everything

, senior policy and legal analyst, Clean Vehicles

Zipcar’s former CEO has cast the self-driving future as a “heaven or hell” scenario, and she has a point. Self-driving cars could save lives, smooth traffic congestion, expand access to jobs or schools—especially for people who can’t drive themselves today—and reduce the number of vehicles on our roads. On the other hand, they could worsen smog and local air quality pollution, disrupt the US economy by putting millions of people out of work, justify cuts in public transit funding and services, and force urban planners to focus more on providing space for vehicles instead of for parks, bicyclists, or pedestrians.

To maximize the potential benefits of self-driving vehicles and minimize their potential consequences, UCS developed this set of principles that we will be pushing policymakers, businesses, and other stakeholders to follow. Doing so will ensure that self-driving vehicles reduce oil consumption and global warming emissions, protect public health, and enhance mobility for everyone. Read more >

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