Autonomous Cars: Driving Forward Together Back »

Written by Bethany Stoutamire (Former SDSU Extension Aging in Place Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA Member) under the direction and review of Leacey E. Brown.

While, autonomous cars won’t be on the road for a few more years, many things have to be ironed out before are. For instance, how will insurance claims work with autonomous cars? Will the owner of the car be responsible if the car malfunctions and causes an accident or will the manufacturer be held responsible? There is also security concerns regarding hacking and being able to prevent individuals from taking over the car. Furthermore, autonomous cars may increase congestion or decrease the need for parking, which may alter the planning and development of cities and communities.

Steps, however, are being taken to prepare for autonomous cars. In 2017, 33 states have introduced legislation related to autonomous cars. Furthermore, many individuals and organizations are meeting to identify planning, research, and policy directions in order to prepare our streets for autonomous cars. For instance, the American Planning Committee had one such meeting in October of 2017, and worked to create a document that included information such as an overview of autonomous cars and a guide about how to plan for them.

While we cannot anticipate all the changes autonomous cars will bring to our society as Stephen Buckley said, “What we do kno is that AVs [autonomous vehicles] will transform everything they touch.” Thus, it is important that we began to talk and prepare for the changes, both good and bad, that autonomous cars will bring.

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