Self-Driving Cars?

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Car automation is happening, and it will likely increase in coming years. Think of lane-assist or automatic-braking—which are standard features in cars today—or the tests in more advanced vehicle automation that companies like GM, Google and Uber have deployed in some cities.

Self-driving vehicles may be the most significant innovation in transportation since automobiles were first invented. Autonomous cars and trucks could radically transform how people and goods move around—with profound implications for safety, equity, and the environment. Whether driverless cars have positive or negative impacts will depend on how companies, policymakers and stakeholders approach the roll-out of this transformative technology.

Self-Driving Cars are Coming—Test Your Knowledge >  

Smart policy for self-driving cars

Selfdriving Uber Test


Photo: Zombiite/CC BY 2.0 (Flickr)

We outlined seven principles to help us take advantage of the potential benefits of self-driving vehicles:

Learn more: Maximizing the Benefits of Self-Driving Cars (2017) >

  1. Safer transportation:
    We must improve the safety for all types of transportation, whether driving, walking, or biking.
  2. Cleaner vehicles:
    We must ensure that self-driving technology is paired with clean, electric vehicles, and ride-sharing services.
  3. Integrated transit:
    We must ensure that self-driving cars complement public transit, instead of dismantling it.
  4. Improved access:
    We must ensure that the widespread adoption of self-driving technologies give all people access to clean, affordable transportation options.
  5. Just transition:
    We must support career pathways and transitions for individuals whose jobs are at risk from self-driving cars and ensure that new jobs are made available to underrepresented populations.
  6. Secure sharing:
    We must facilitate open data-sharing of autonomous vehicle performance for research and safety purposes, while ensuring that appropriate privacy and cybersecurity protections are in place.
  7. Livable cities:
    We should design cities with communities, not cars, as the first priority, and create vibrant and healthy places to live without encouraging sprawl and congestion.

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