Imagine a future where most cars on the road are driving themselves. It might sound like science fiction, but much of the technology is already here.

Self-driving car graphic

Shah: “. . . things like lane departure warnings and automatic braking. Or things like active cruise control where the car can slow down to a stop and restart in traffic.”

Anand Shah is a transportation expert at the Albright-Stonebridge Group in Washington D.C. He says autonomous technologies are found off the road, too.

Shah: “There’s examples all over the world of autonomy being brought into things starting with the robots that move goods around warehouses to technology in the form of drones.”

Shah says self-driving cars will actually be safer than those driven by people because, for example, cameras can see in every direction at once. And computers can react faster than human beings. But before fully autonomous cars hit the market, they must be rigorously tested.

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Shah: “People need to trust that these things are actually better than a human being behind the wheel.”

Shah hopes that self-driving auto technologies will make driving more efficient and sustainable . . . from improved public transit to car-sharing services with fleets of on-demand, self-driving, electric cars.

Shah: “So the implications could be dramatic.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Graphic: Copyright protected.

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Bud Ward was editor of Yale Climate Connections from 2007-2022. He started his environmental journalism career in 1974. He later served as assistant director of the U.S. Congress's National Commission...