Researchers at RAND have been working on the technology behind driverless vehicles for over 50 years. From 1968 to the present, studies have involved remote-controlled drones, military land vehicles, autonomous submarines, and the safety and liability issues of self-driving cars.
Cars are becoming “fast, heavy artificial intelligences on wheels,” a RAND report cautions, and that means they're becoming vulnerable. Potentially billions of dollars ride on the question of who has the legal responsibility to keep hackers from grabbing the wheel or cutting the brakes.
Imagine a scene from the near-future: You get dropped off downtown by a driverless car. You slam the door and head into your office or appointment. But then where does the autonomous vehicle go? It's a question that cities would be wise to consider now. Self-driving cars may be on the roads within the next decade or two.
Tens of thousands of people die on American roads every year. Bringing that number down to zero by 2050 is possible. We would have to change how we think about road safety, stop accepting car crashes as accidents, and make smart investments in technology.
More large U.S. cities are seeing their outer reaches turn into transit deserts, where demand for transportation vastly exceeds supply. Connecting public transit systems with automated vehicles, whether in ride-sharing or shuttle services, could be a solution.
Safety and cybersecurity are generally pursued by separate teams within autonomous vehicle companies. A joint approach to standards could optimize safety and cybersecurity and reduce overall risks to autonomous vehicle operation.
To shed light on a wide range of topics that figured in President Trump's second State of the Union address, we've rounded up insights from some of RAND's objective and nonpartisan research, analysis, and expertise.
Autonomous vehicle developers are pursuing different safety strategies and technologies, making different claims, in different ways, about their systems. A universal framework could provide a more consistent and transparent view of progress in AV safety within and across the industry, better informing the public and policymakers.
Giving up driving has been linked to depression and isolation in older adults, as well as early entry into nursing home facilities. Autonomous vehicles could help improve the well-being of older adults by allowing them to maintain independence while still giving up their car keys.
Cities across Europe are taking steps to become increasingly car free. Mayors, supported by their officials and planners, should start leading a debate now about how self-driving vehicles can best serve the needs of residents and visitors, and help deliver wider goals for their cities.
High-profile accidents involving autonomous vehicles (AVs) have led to recent discussions about the physical safety of people. However, it could be argued that consumers and manufacturers should be equally, if not more, concerned about the potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities in AVs.
Terrorist groups that track developments in technology could be considering using self-driving cars in place of suicide bombers or for ramming attacks. But autonomous vehicle capabilities offer a range of potential benefits to law enforcement and security operations, too.
Driverless cars could be tested on Britain’s roads by 2021. While this is likely to be great news to many, the race is now on for policymaking to catch up. Why? Because driverless cars could substantially change more than just the way people travel.
Some people think autonomous vehicles must be flawless before humans take their hands off the wheel. But putting AVs on the road before they're perfect improves the technology more quickly—and could save hundreds of thousands of lives over time.
Artificial intelligence seems to be advancing faster than efforts to understand its potential consequences, good and bad. And discussions about AI often veer toward extremes. More balanced, rigorous analysis is needed to help shape policies that mitigate AI's risks and maximize its benefits.
Autonomous vehicles are projected to hit American roads within the next few years. They promise safer transportation, greater mobility for millions of Americans, and other benefits. But they will also have enormous impacts on the workforce.
California's Department of Motor Vehicles recently proposed new regulations governing the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles. Will this help retain the state's status as a testing and deployment ground for the technology, and will it make California safer?
To help Hill staffers make the most of the Congressional recess, RAND has developed a list of must-read research and commentaries that will help ensure policymakers will return ready to hit the ground running.
The first reported fatality in a self-driving vehicle is a chilling reminder that the evolving relationship with increasingly robotic motor vehicles needs to be a partnership, an undertaking with humans and machines managing the risks.
The first known fatality in an autonomous vehicle occurred on May 7 and raises important questions. It does not, however, mean that self-driving cars are less safe than human drivers or that development of the technology should be stopped.
The UK's roads, railways, and airports are some of the most congested in the world. Exploring future transport scenarios and the technologies that will drive them can help guide today's policy and investment decisions.
There are arguments to be made for permitting driverless cars in some capacity even if they are not quite as safe as human drivers, because doing so may enable developers to improve them faster, and thus save more lives overall.
As self-driving cars become widespread, one of the biggest issues will be the rules under which public infrastructures and public safety officers may be empowered to override how autonomous vehicles are controlled.
In perhaps no other field does society have as direct a stake in getting technology right as in policing. How will technology change the work that law enforcement agencies do and the communities they serve?
Once driverless cars are safer than the average human driver, they should be allowed to hit the road. Indeed, waiting for autonomous vehicles to be perfect would be its own safety concern because it would mean the needless perpetuation of the risks posed by human drivers.
Autonomous vehicle technology is already here: Cars park themselves, alert drivers to impending dangers, and even apply the brakes in emergencies. But what will it take to unlock its potential for major societal benefits?
According to consumer research, the ability to consume media, write an email, or even sleep during transport is a key selling point for autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars), which could be widely available in the fairly near future. Autonomous vehicle technology could also produce a wide range of public benefits.
The promise of autonomous vehicles is finally near to being realized and the substantial benefits to society in terms of safety, mobility, and fuel economy cannot be ignored. It is not too early for policy makers to begin to think about the challenges that lie ahead.