Expert Voices: Self-Driving Cars and Society

Self-driving cars—also known as autonomous vehicles (AVs)—will change the way we get around, and will have implications for safety, emissions, equity, jobs, transit, land use, and data sharing and privacy. In this blog series, we ask experts from across the country to dig deeper into these topics.

Subscribe to our AVexperts feed

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 >

Bookmark and Share

Photo: Dllu/Wikimedia Commons

Transitioning the Workforce in the Era of Autonomous Vehicles: Meet Dr. Algernon Austin

, Kendall Science Fellow

I spoke with Dr. Algernon Austin*, an economist with the think tank Dēmos and co-author of “Stick Shift: Autonomous Vehicles, Driving Jobs, and the Future of Work,” to get an expert’s opinions on the future of the driving workforce. I asked him about potential impacts of AVs on the labor market and he discussed ways to provide job training opportunities for transportation workers that will be affected by the AV revolution. Read more >

Bookmark and Share

Three Revolutions and the Future of Cars: An Interview with Dr. Dan Sperling

, research and deputy director, Clean Vehicles

There are a number of benefits we can expect to see with the introduction of autonomous vehicles (AVs), including more convenient transportation. One possible consequence resulting from this would be an increase in the number of miles that people drive, creating more vehicle pollution. To avoid this outcome, experts like Dr. Dan Sperling from the University of California, Davis, are stressing the need to incentivize low-carbon vehicles (like electric cars) and an increased number of passengers per trip (sometimes called sharing or pooling). My colleague Abby Figueroa sat down with Dr. Sperling to discuss the future of transportation and his book Three Revolutions: Steering Automated, Shared, and Electric Vehicles to a Better Future. Read more >

Bookmark and Share

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 >

Bookmark and Share