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All Hail the Driverless Car!

All Hail the Driverless Car
The BriefGet Up To Speed

What if the next car you buy or taxi you hail drives itself? Driverless cars, also known as autonomous or self-driving vehicles, are currently in test-drive mode around the globe. Proponents claim this innovation will drastically improve our lives, with fewer auto accidents, less traffic congestion and carbon emissions, as well as greater accessibility for the elderly and those with physical limitations. Opponents, however, argue that autonomous vehicles will increase traffic, render current infrastructure obsolete, and jeopardize millions of auto-related jobs. Worse yet, they say, these cars are nothing more than a computer-on-wheels, meaning an error in programming by developers, or hacking by nefarious actors, could lead to disaster. Should we proceed with caution? Or embrace the driverless car? 


"On March 13, 2004, a gaggle of engineers and a few thousand spectators congregated outside a California dive bar to watch 15 self-driving cars speed across the Mojave Desert in the first-ever Darpa Grand Challenge."

Thursday, August 3, 2017
Alex Davies

"A scorecard breaking down everyone from Alphabet’s Waymo to Zoox."

Monday, May 7, 2018
David Welch and Elisabeth Behrmann

A list of pros and cons associated with self-driving cars by the Auto Insurance Center. 

Monday, April 15, 2019
Auto Insurance Center

"Cars that ferry passengers around cities and down highways without the need for a human driver are being tested in an increasing number of locations around the world, fueling predictions that computers will someday replace people behind the wheel."

Friday, February 1, 2019
Stephen Ornes

"IN THE PAST five years, autonomous driving has gone from 'maybe possible' to 'definitely possible' to 'inevitable' to 'how did anyone ever think this wasn’t inevitable?' to 'now commercially available.'"

Thursday, December 13, 2018
Alex Davies
"There’s now an app to hail a self-driving taxi. We’ll look behind the wheel at the technology and safety concerns."
Monday, December 10, 2018
On Point
How Do Autonomous Vehicles Work?
"Many of these features can be grouped together in a uniform set of self-driving "levels," which were defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers in 2014. Although many new car buyers don't—or won't—need to know what each level specifically means, it may be helpful to understand the basic principals to understand what system could be right—and what systems may not be allowed by law in their area."
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Aaron Cole

"Imagine getting into your car in the morning, sipping your coffee and sitting back to relax while your car drives you to work. Then you remember to call a friend who you have not spoken to in a while, or you have a look at the amazing photos from your latest vacation. It is, of course, not a safe idea to do any of these things if you had to navigate your car through the busy morning commuter traffic. But if our cars could drive us autonomously, we could spend the freed-up time in more pleasant or productive ways."

Monday, August 28, 2017
Tim Menke
"What happens when robot cars meet complex social interaction, like head nods, horn honks, or even road rage? Dr. Melissa Cefkin is here to teach autonomous cars how to behave."
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Brett Brek

"Volkswagen wants to put fully self-driving cars in fully human-filled cities by 2021, and that means it has limited time to crack the hardest thing about this technology: making a robot that can understand its surroundings in precise detail."

Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Alex Davies

"Along with robot butlers, billboard-sized TVs, and inadequately sanitized wearables being tried on by untold hordes, self-driving demonstrations have become a staple of CES. As the show takes over Las Vegas, the Strip, hotel parking lots, and side streets play host to robo-vehicles with spinning sensors on the roof, pods with splashy logos, and even autonomous Lyfts."

Monday, January 14, 2019
Jack Stewart
For The Motion

"Despite the recent pair of fatal crashes involving self-driving cars, there’s wide agreement that autonomous vehicles will sharply reduce the number of people who die in motor vehicle accidents. In the U.S. alone, traffic accidents claim more than 30,000 lives a year; experts say that by the middle of this century, that toll could fall by up to 90 percent."

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Kate Baggaley

"Americans spend an average of 293 hours per year driving, equivalent to over seven 40-hour workweeks. That’s time that busy professionals can’t spend working or doing the activities they love."

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Julian Adorney
"Concerns that the technology will erode the freedom of self-reliant movement are real and must be addressed, but it promises very real, significant benefits, too."
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Ian Adams
Against The Motion
"All the ways the self-driving future won’t come to pass."
Thursday, December 20, 2018
Alexis C. Madrigal
"We’ve been sold a lie. Autonomous tech isn’t ready, and our cities can’t handle more metal boxes."
Thursday, August 9, 2018
Paris Marx
"It was the first fatal accident of its kind."
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
The Economist
Ethical Considerations

"People see self-driving cars, but are there ethical problems to be discussed before they are standard on the road?"

Monday, October 30, 2017
Graham Miller

"Scholars and pundits tend to focus on one ethical challenge for autonomous cars: the Trolley Problem. Unfortunately, the focus on this ethical problem alone seems to blind experts and practitioners alike from grappling with other unaddressed ethical challenges. This paper argues that one must take the technology on its own terms. Once we understand how these vehicles work—that is, the mathematics behind their learning—we will see how there are many other design choices that are far more morally important."

Monday, December 17, 2018
Heather M. Roff
"A 50-year-old philosophical thought experiment has been central to the debate about autonomous vehicles. It’s time to give it up."
Friday, March 30, 2018
Ian Bogost

"Something feels dishonest about the moral panic over self-driving cars. It usually involves bizarre crash scenarios that would (probably) never happen in real life. Does it matter that the scenarios are artificial or unrealistic?"

Monday, April 3, 2017
Patrick Lin

"Welcome to the Moral Machine! A platform for gathering a human perspective on moral decisions made by machine intelligence, such as self-driving cars."

Monday, April 15, 2019
Scalable Cooperation
"The list of concerns about self-driving cars just got longer. In addition to worrying about how safe they are, how they’d handle tricky moral trade-offs on the road, and how they might make traffic worse, we also need to worry about how they could harm people of color."
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Sigal Samuel
"Self-driving vehicles promised to revolutionize the transportation industry. Automated cars could reshape every industry that relies on the automobile, from car manufacturing, to taxis, limousines and trucking. By taking human beings—who aren’t the drivers they think they are—out from behind the wheel, self-driving cars could also save millions of lives."
Thursday, September 8, 2016
Justin Worland

"Driverless vehicle use worldwide could lower traffic congestion and emissions contributing to climate change by 50 percent or more in 2050, according to a 2017 report led by global transport expert Lewis Fulton at the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis (ITS-Davis)."

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Kat Kerlin

"The presence of just a few autonomous vehicles can eliminate the stop-and-go driving of the human drivers in traffic, along with the accident risk and fuel inefficiency it causes, according to new research."

Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Celeste Arbogast

"Judging from General Motors Co.’s test cars and Elon Musk’s predictions, the world is headed toward a future that’s both driverless and all-electric. In reality, autonomy and battery power could end up being at odds."

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Gabrielle Coppola and Esha Dey
"Four experts at the 2018 Silicon Valley Energy Summit debated whether autonomous vehicles will hurt the natural and human environment."
Health, Safety, and Security
"Driverless cars promise many benefits, including an improvement in safety, but new research shows many people are still not aware of this."
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Simone Pettigrew

"Judging from General Motors Co.’s test cars and Elon Musk’s predictions, the world is headed toward a future that’s both driverless and all-electric. In reality, autonomy and battery power could end up being at odds."

Monday, January 1, 2018
Jim Sallis

"Cars kill people. More than 37,000 in 2017—what would statistically be considered a good year. Big tech has a solution: Have the cars drive themselves, free of distractions, drunkenness, and other human foibles. Flood the roads with autonomous vehicles and watch collision deaths plummet."

Thursday, October 11, 2018
Nick Stockton

"Driverless cars may increase cases of motion sickness or kinetosis, to give it it's official title."

Saturday, October 27, 2018
Anna Tobin
"The first pedestrian death leads some to ask whether the industry is moving too fast to deploy the technology."
Monday, March 19, 2018
Will Knight
"Automation on the roads could be the great public-health achievement of the 21st century."
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Adrienne Lafrance
"Security is finally being taken seriously but the fact that we are increasingly entrusting our lives to self-driving cars creates unease."
Sunday, August 28, 2016
Alex Hern

"The continuing evolution of automotive technology aims to deliver even greater safety benefits and Automated Driving Systems (ADS) that — one day — can handle the whole task of driving when we don’t want to or can’t do it ourselves. Fully automated cars and trucks that drive us, instead of us driving them, will become a reality. These self-driving vehicles ultimately will integrate onto U.S. roadways by progressing through six levels of driver assistance technology advancements in the coming years."

Monday, April 15, 2019
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

"Internal report sees benefits for road safety, but warns that autonomy will create greater potential for criminal ‘multitasking.’"

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Mark Harris

"Miller, Valasek discuss today and tomorrow's robo-ride defenses."

Friday, August 10, 2018
Lain Thomson
Lifestyle, Labor, and the Economy

"Driverless vehicles are among the most visible and potentially disruptive examples of the coming wave of automation in daily life."

Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Aaron Smith and Monica Anderson
"How will sex, death and liability change on the road to the driverless revolution?"
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
The New York Times

"What happens to roadkill or traffic tickets when our vehicles are in control?"

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
The New York Times

"We are building cars without drivers and cities without parking.  Property, the world’s largest asset class, is poised for disruption.  Everything we know about real estate is about to change in the coming autonomous revolution.  And it starts with 2 billion parking spots."

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Paige Marie
"The passengers who may soon be asked to pay for driverless rides and deliveries remain wary of the new technology."
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Keith Naughton
"Nuro is focused on last-mile deliveries with its completely driverless prototype."
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Andrew J. Hawkins
"Without humans to cause accidents, 90% of risk is removed. Insurers are scrambling to prepare."
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Paul Tullis
"Avoiding wildlife could be a tough task for these super-smart cars."
Monday, November 2, 2015
Alastair Bland
"The automobile has come to dominate the urban scene without ever quite belonging to it. The latest innovations have the potential to fix that problem—or make it even worse."
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Derek Thompson
"The ad-supported business model that ruined the internet could come for transportation next."
Friday, April 20, 2018
David Roberts

"Fast food, real estate, military operations, even home improvement — many large industries will have to shift their strategies in the wake of driverless cars."

Thursday, September 20, 2018
"Don't buy the doom and gloom over autonomous big rigs."
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Christian Britschgi

"Yet the autonomous vehicle industry is creating jobs, as well, especially as multiple companies race to put the first self-driving car into action. Autonomous driving job listings increased 27 percent year over year in January 2018, according to ZipRecruiter, an online employment marketplace. From the second quarter of 2017 to the second quarter of 2018, the amount of postings boomed 250 percent on the site due to a hiring spree at the beginning of the year."

Saturday, August 11, 2018
Carmen Reinicke
"An organization that advocates for professional drivers has urged New York to ban self-driving cars from the state's roads for 50 years. The Upstate Transportation Association fears that self-driving cars will eliminate thousands of jobs and damage the local economy. Experts say it's the most aggressive move yet to restrict self-driving vehicles, and a sign of things to come."
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Matt McFarland

"Even though the new technology could radically re-shape plenty of jobs, autonomous vehicles will likely only raise the US unemployment rate by a tenth of a percent, according to the report out Tuesday from Securing America's Future Energy, a Washington D.C. non-profit focused on reducing American dependence on oil."

Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Graham Rapier
"Trucking paid for Scott Spindola to take a road trip down the coast of Spain, climb halfway up Machu Picchu, and sample a Costa Rican beach for two weeks. The 44-year-old from Covina now makes up to $70,000 per year, with overtime, hauling goods from the port of Long Beach. He has full medical coverage and plans to drive until he retires. But in a decade, his big rig may not have any need for him."
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Natalie Kitroeff
"The escalating cost of self-driving vehicle programs is catching up with Silicon Valley, as it did with Detroit and Germany."
Monday, March 18, 2019
Stephen Wilmot

"Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: Revolutionising Mobility in Society,1 the first comprehensive UK-based study of the human impact of CAVs, canvassed the views of more than 3,600 respondents and found that this new technology will offer freedom to some of society’s most disadvantaged, including those with disabilities, older people and the young."

Thursday, March 30, 2017
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

"Autonomous vehicles have the potential to revolutionize travel, but there is one segment of society, who have so far been overlooked, that they could greatly benefit: people with disabilities. Driverless cars, according to a report by the Ruderman Foundation 'offer significant potential for reducing transportation obstacles for Americans with disabilities.'"

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Tom Ward
"We are always interested in supporting the development of technologies that make getting around easier for people living with disabilities. That’s why we are particularly excited about the potential of self-driving cars. However, the benefits of this technology can’t be experienced until Congress passes the AV START Act. We believe the time to pass this legislation is now."
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Barbara Merrill

"When I bought my most recent car — a 2014 Chrysler Town and Country —the salesman walked me through the list of available upgrades. I could get a leather interior and heated seats without a problem, but there was one glaring oversight: accessibility. As a wheelchair user, I’ve found that no major automaker offers an accessible vehicle as standard. For this recent purchase, I had to pay more than $25,000 — on top of the car’s list price — for features like hand controls, a ramp and locks for my chair."

Monday, July 30, 2018
Henry Claypool

"Autonomous cars are supposed to be just around the corner, right? Well, not exactly. Every year, car companies flock to CES and the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to show off their cool self-driving car concepts. This year was no different, with a plethora of weird wheels from Mercedes, Toyota, Nissan, and others making their debut."

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Andrew J. Hawkins

"The creation of what’s being called the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) council excited SXSW participants in attendance—namely, Virgin Hyperloop One, which eagerly dispatched a press release applauding Chao’s decision to launch the group, scheduled to start meeting as soon as this week."

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Alissa Walker
"Congress seeks to exempt autonomous vehicles from federal safety regulation. Not so fast."
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Ralph Nader

"On Tuesday, Google spinoff Waymo became the first to obtain a driverless testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A 40-strong fleet of fully autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans — overseen by remote operators — will drive day and night on city streets, rural roads, and highways around Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Palo Alto."

Friday, November 2, 2018
Kyle Wiggers

"It’s premature to regulate the self-driving vehicles being tested by companies such as General Motors Co. and Waymo LLC, the U.S. government’s top auto safety official said."

Thursday, July 12, 2018
Ryan Been

"Conventional cars didn't need FDA-style regulation, and neither do self-driving cars."

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Ronald Bailey

"Self-driving cars should be welcomed for their substantial safety and mobility gains for the traveling public, especially the elderly and disabled. But the federal government’s failure to modernize auto regulations is already denying consumers safer and superior products, and this problem will only grow larger as automated driving systems near the deployment stage."

Thursday, February 8, 2018
Marc Scribner
Global Perspective

"Ipsos has carried out a major global study into perceptions about self-driving cars. The topic has come into sharp focus after two fatal accidents involving autonomous vehicles occurred in the U.S. last month. The first involved a pedestrian getting killed by a self-driving Uber car while the second occurred when a Tesla Model X on autopilot mode slammed into a highway divider before bursting into flames. The research was conducted prior to those serious setbacks and it found that faith in the technology was strong in most countries with only 13 percent of people across the world saying they would never use a self-driving car."

Friday, April 13, 2018
Niall McCarthy

"China may not have pole position on autonomous driving technology and development, but it will be the first country where driverless cars go mainstream."

Thursday, May 31, 2018
Michael C. Wenderoth

"China’s search engine giant Baidu  is continuing its partnership spree for Apollo, its open development platform for autonomous driving, after it inked a deal with Swedish automaker Volvo to develop level four self-driving passenger cars."

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Rita Liao

"Cities across Europe are taking steps to become increasingly car free. London Mayor Sadiq Khan is aiming for 80% of all trips to be made on foot, by cycle or using public transport by 2041, while Copenhagen authorities are aiming for three quarters of all trips to be made in these ways by 2025."

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Mark Kleinman and Charlene Rohr
"Cars that drive themselves are finding the clearest paths to showrooms in the U.K., Germany, South Korea and Singapore, where governments have enacted legislation allowing autonomous vehicles to be tested on public roads. And China’s not far behind. Those nations are outpacing the U.S., where the absence of national legislation to clarify a “checkerboard of state rules” hampers the deployment of driverless cars, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a report. California and Arizona lead the 50 states in allowing tests of driverless cars and host the largest fleets, according to the report released Tuesday."
Monday, May 14, 2018
Jie Ma and David Welch