When Will Autonomous Vehicles be Safe Enough? An interview with Professor Missy Cummings
Autonomous vehicle (AV) supporters often tout safety as one of the most significant benefits of an AV-dominated transportation future. As explained in our policy brief Maximizing the Benefits of Self-Driving Vehicles:
While self-driving vehicles have the potential to reduce vehicle-related fatalities, this is not a guaranteed outcome. Vehicle computer systems must be made secure from hacking, and rigorous testing and regulatory oversight of vehicle programming are essential to ensure that self-driving vehicles protect both their occupants and those outside the vehicle.
Professor Mary “Missy” Cummings, former fighter pilot and current director of the Humans and Autonomy Lab at Duke University, is an expert on automated systems. Dr. Cummings has researched and written extensively on the interactions between humans and unmanned vehicles, regulation of AVs, and potential risks of driverless cars. I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Cummings and ask her a few questions about current technological limitations to AV safety and how to use regulation to ensure safety for all Americans, whether they are driving, walking, or biking.
By Jeremy Martin Senior Scientist, Clean Vehicles
Published September 25, 2018