The Driverless Cars Battles

The last couple of months has been amazing for driverless car junkies/nerds (myself included). There have been non-stop press releases around the innovations, government funding, and new partners. Some highlights:

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation is proposing to spend $4 billion to encourage driverless cars (link)
  • GM and Lyft are partnering (link) and bringing a fleet of cabs to Austin (link)
  • GM is using cameras on customers’ cars to build driverless car maps (link)
  • The National League of Cities published a study showing that only 6% of cities are preparing for driverless cars (link)
  • 18 carmakers agreed to share safety data (link)

And the list goes on.

I don’t know about the rest of the driverless car junkies/nerds, but I’m finding that these evolving news stories are leaving me with more questions than answers. I’m constantly thinking about the following “driverless car battles”:

  • Private ownership vs shared mobility?
  • Ridesharing vs single-occupancy vehicles?
  • Public transit vs private mobility options?
  • Google vs Apple vs Tesla vs all of the automakers?
  • Connected vs fully automated?
  • Electric vs gasoline power?
  • Mass congestion vs great mobility?
  • Urban sprawl vs dense, well-planned cities?

I could go on!  Anything else to add to this list?

About Lauren Isaac

Lauren Isaac is the Director of Business Initiatives for the North American operation of EasyMile. Easymile provides electric, driverless shuttles that are designed to cover short distances in multi-use environments. Prior to working at EasyMile, Lauren worked at WSP where she was involved in various projects involving advanced technologies that can improve mobility in cities. Lauren wrote a guide titled “Driving Towards Driverless: A Guide for Government Agencies” regarding how local and regional governments should respond to autonomous vehicles in the short, medium, and long term. In addition, Lauren maintains the blog, “Driving Towards Driverless”, and has presented on this topic at more than 75 industry conferences. She recently did a TEDx Talk, and has been published in Forbes and the Chicago Tribune among other publications.
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6 Responses to The Driverless Cars Battles

  1. Nicole says:

    Love the round-up. One more question: Pedestrian safety vs. no pedestrians!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. berngrush says:

    What you are starting to see is the beginning of AV’s slide toward Gartner’s “Trough of Disillusionment”. The next 5-10 years will be a mix of hype, exciting claims, bad news and confusing claims/reports for (and from!) driverless car nerds/junkies. But hang in there and by 2025 things will look much rosier. See here for more:


  3. Ben says:

    and how driverless will impact safe cycling


  4. David Church says:

    Over 100 people attended the first Connected/Autonomous Vehicle Task Force as part of the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control (NCUTCD) meeting in Alexandria, VA earlier this month. Some of the discussion centered around the major American car manufacturers reaching out to the Traffic Engineering community saying that they need more standardization of signing and pavement markings for CV/AV. At the same time Google, Apple and Tesla are forging ahead without engaging with the Traffic Engineering community as they are going to figure things out on their own instead of waiting on information gaps that they can solve on their own. There was more discussion at TRB and the CV/AV Task Force of the NCUTCD will be having regular conference calls (key members) with our next meeting in June 2016 in Savannah, Georgia. Exciting times!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Panda says:

    It’s not always possible to obey a single law to the letter where driving is concerned.

    Just yesterday, for example, I had to speed up by about 10 miles an hour to get out of the way of an ambulance, thus disobeying the speed limit. Of course, I had reason to disobey, but a self-driving car wouldn’t know.

    This technology is headed in the wrong direction, in my opinion. We should be working toward better, more efficient public transportation, rather than more and driver-less cars on the road.

    Driver-less car technology is a shining example of the over-valuing of individuality and the fact that suburbs are one of the worst ideas ever.

    Fewer cars; more buses and trains.

    Liked by 1 person

    • berngrush says:

      Panda: BRAVO for your comment, DOUBLE BRAVO given you are in the auto insurance industry!

      The “technology” per se is not headed in the wrong direction. But most of the punditry and marketing hype is. The assumption that meaningful numbers of consumer-owned level 5 AVs will be on the road anytime soon is flatly wrong (Lots of level 2 and level 3, though). Rather, the use of level 5 technology in constrained transit applications (first and last mile; small area; campus) is available immediately. Slow, cautious, minibusses. Still, this is a start AND this is transit oriented, NOT consumer oriented. This is your “more efficient transportation”. We at Grush Niles Strategic (@transitleap, endofdriving dot org), have felt alone in North America in seeing what the EU has seen a couple of years ago (CityMobil2). Glad to see you think this way, Panda.


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