Differing Viewpoints on the Topic of Autonomous Vehicles
When you have Silicon Valley as your backyard, you attend CES every year, and your job is to report on tech it is very easy to get caught up in the excitement and buzz around autonomous vehicles. Emerging technologies are not scary to this community and the tech-press is no stranger to covering these stories. But others in the transportation community take a more cautious view to the hurdles that must be overcome and the economic impacts of removing commercial drivers from their jobs. Here are three differing viewpoints:
The San Francisco Chronicle has a landing page dedicated to stories pertaining to autonomous vehicles called “Driving the Future.” While there are some articles highlighting the economic impacts and the potential jobs lost, most of their coverage is focused on the achievements of Uber, Google, GM, and Ford. The underlying message seems to be that the technology is real and the change is inevitable, but we are in good hands.
Published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, this article highlights the ecological impact of autonomous vehicles. In their perspective a tech-trifecta is required to achieve an ecologic improvement over current conditions: vehicles must be electric, autonomous, and shared. If one of these three factors are not present, then emissions attributed to vehicles may actually increase.
The Register, a UK-based outlet for tech news, published an article featuring Christian Wolmar’s view of autonomous vehicles. Mr. Wolmar is a transportation pundit who has written extensively about railways. His view is that the AV revolution is just a tech-nerd fantasy propped up by journalists looking for a sensational headline. He sees danger in the currently available semi-autonomous systems causing drivers to become de-skilled and distracted.