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.
Policymakers and enthusiasts in support of self-driving vehicles echo the promise from autonomous vehicle lobbyists that these self-driving cars will make our roads safer and more efficient. Supporters contend that technology could make those car accident deaths a misfortune of the past.
On Friday, Ford Motor Company announced that it will invest $1 billion to develop a virtual driver system for a self-driving vehicle that will be commercialized in 2021. Ford is teaming up with Argo Al, a Pittsburgh startup company led by former Google and Uber executives who specialize in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence. The virtual driver system will use machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence that improves with experience, to act as the brain of Ford's self-driving vehicle. The technology will deliver SAE Level 4 driving automation, meaning the driver will simply turn on the automatic driving system and the vehicle will handle all driving functions and monitor most, but not all, driving scenarios.