The Driverless Car Battle of the Countries

An article today made me realize that the race to develop driverless cars is not just with automakers, Google, Apple, Uber, etc….. it’s between countries too! This article describes the progress made by Japan versus the United States versus Germany.  I’m surprised that it doesn’t mention the United Kingdom or Sweden because they seem to want to be the leaders too. It seems most governments are showing their support by encouraging testing – either at test sites or on public roads. They are also engaging and establishing partnerships with the technology developers (auto makers, Google, etc.). Sweden seems focused on establishing the infrastructure requirements and understanding human behavior. It seems Japan is most interested in the progress the countries are making with standards – not necessarily safety regulations or technological advancement. As stated in the article “Japan is hoping that the collaboration will allow them to establish common parts specifications and safety regulations (including crucial protections against car hacking) that could be adopted globally.”

I’m heartened by the fact that all of the countries seem to see the value in driverless cars and, in fact, want to see it happen quickly. Let the race continue!

About Lauren Isaac

I am the Manager of Transportation Sustainability at Parsons Brinckerhoff. Recently, I won the William Barclay Parsons fellowship for my research proposal to study how the United States government should respond to driverless cars. As I'm working on my research, I thought this blog would help to disseminate my findings and provide a forum for feedback.
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5 Responses to The Driverless Car Battle of the Countries

  1. Steven Griffin says:

    Look forward to reading more of your research Lauren, however I still believe that driverless vehicles poses a threat to employment. Millions of jobs could be created to develop ride share programs for suburbs all over now. Any company that produces driverless vehicles is only concerned about making more capital for themselves, and not for the bigger picture. Their has been no industry, that has employed more by automation. Hackers will always be a threat.

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    • Lauren Isaac says:

      Thanks so much for your comment Steven. I completely agree that driverless cars will have an impact to jobs. It will likely displace many (e.g., limo drivers, cab drivers, delivery people, etc); however, it could create many too (IT, security, data protection, etc). Job loss due to technological advances is a sad reality in our world. Since this is likely to happen over the next two decades, I do believe people will adapt appropriately.

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  2. Michael J. Connor says:

    Wouldn’t this be the last straw in railroad passenger and freight service? Driverless trucks and cars rolling on “free” highways? Ironic that a firm founded by William Barclay Parsons, the noted late 19th-early 20th Century Railroad Civil Engineer, is on the cutting edge for this rail-killing technology.

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    • Lauren Isaac says:

      I’m not convinced that passenger or freight rail would go away. In fact, I hope that the government will incentivize/encourage railroad and passenger freight service to continue. If not, our roads will be way more congested than they are now. I’m planning on writing some blog posts on this in the near future. Thanks for your comment!

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