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.

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Self-Driving Cars and Land Use: An Interview with Becky Steckler and Nico Larco

, senior vehicles analyst

Take a look outside. If you’re in a city, you might notice a lot of space has been devoted to roads and parking lots. Will automated vehicles (AVs) change how we use roads? Will we no longer need parking lots if we’re being shuttled around by cars that are constantly being used? Will the expected convenience of AVs create demand for even more roads? What can cities do to ensure AVs improve the livability of their communities?

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Photo: joiseyshowaa/Flickr
Photo: Mark Hogan
Photo: Adam Coppola
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Data and the Future of Mobility: An Interview with Dr. Regina Clewlow

, senior vehicles analyst

I recently got to sit down with Dr. Regina Clewlow, CEO of Populus, to talk about one of the most critical, yet unappreciated, pieces to improving our transportation system: data. Regina is one of the most respected people I know working in the new mobility industry. She has worked from all angles to improve how we get around, as a researcher in the academic world to leading roles in the private sector, including her current venture as the co-founder and CEO of the mobility data platform company, Populus. Here’s an edited transcript of a conversation we recently had about data and new mobility. Read more >

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Photo: Jaguar MENA

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

, Senior scientist

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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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 >

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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 >

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