A rising tide lifts all boats. But will the autonomous vehicle revolution lift everyone in our transportation system? It depends, according to a recent report published by The Greenlining Institute, an Oakland based public policy advocacy organization. The report, titled "Autonomous Vehicle Heaven or Hell? Creating A Transportation Revolution that Benefits All" provides an in-depth analysis of the benefits, costs, policy issues, and solutions for the self-driving industry becoming a mainstay in our rapidly changing society. In the last decade, the rapid development of self-driving technology and autonomous vehicles has introduced a new set of rules for the road.
For decades Detroit, Michigan, has been dubbed the epicenter of automotive innovation. In fact, more than 70 percent of U.S. automotive R&D occurs in Michigan. Currently, Michigan ranks number one in the nation in connected and automated vehicle projects. With more than 2,500 mobility-related patents awarded in Michigan over the past five years, the state continues to lead the industry in autonomous technology innovation. Consequently, it is no surprise that Detroit hosts the annual North America International Auto Show (NAIAS), which serves as the global stage for companies to debut new vehicles and innovations in automotive technology.
Uber's fully autonomous car program has suffered a serious setback after one of its vehicles hit and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. This is the first time an autonomous vehicle operating in self-driving mode has caused a fatality. The self-driving Uber struck a woman crossing a street in Tempe.
One of the first lawsuits involving the collision of a self-driving car and a human driver was filed in California. The accident happened in December in heavy traffic outside of San Francisco. The lawsuit claims a Chevrolet Bolt that was operating in autonomous driving mode suddenly veered back into the motorcyclist's lane, knocking him to the ground. At the time of the incident there was a backup driver behind the wheel of GM's vehicle.
It seems that the ultimate success of the autonomous car revolution may actually depend on an infrastructure overhaul with repainted lane stripes and embedded roadway sensors capable of transmitting warning signals to vehicles.
In February, Google's self-driving prototype sideswiped a bus while trying to turn right amid sandbags blocking the road. There have been about 17 wrecks involving the self-driving car and this wreck is one where the Google car was labeled at fault. With the bus going 15 miles per hour and the self-driving Lexus RX450h vehicle only going 2 miles per hour, no one was harmed in the accident and the crash was described as minor. The accident occurred in Mountain View and the California-based project leader has already said changes in the software's algorithm have been made to avoid future accidents.