Autonomous Vehicles: Society’s Most Anxiety Inducing Potential Life Saver

Costa, Raymond, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Neeley, Kathryn, University of Virginia

The technical portion of this thesis produced a live-action version of the game Wordle. The major technical components included a keypad, an LED screen, and a printed circuit board containing voltage regulators, microcontrollers, and data storage in the form of a serial flash player. This first involved developing a printed circuit board that would successfully power all of the components of our game through a wall outlet as well as connect the relevant pins of our microcontroller, keypad, screen, and serial flash player according to their respective data sheets. The next stage of the project once the electrical components were complete was to design an embedded software program that allowed for the game to be played using the keypad and screen. The electrical component flow is shown below in Figure 1, and the game logic is displayed below in Figure 2. This game allowed users to guess words chosen by their friends or the computer, or to select words for their friends or the computer to guess, providing a low-stakes opportunity for interaction with a thinking electronic system.
This STS research originally sought to identify the implication of AI on autonomous vehicle algorithm development, and in turn the effects of autonomous systems on our current public transportation methods. This prospectus was developed with this goal in mind but quickly realized that the research scope was too broad and chose to focus on autonomous vehicles specifically. Motor accidents are a leading cause of death worldwide, and autonomous vehicles are poised to massively decrease these accidents, but a large sector of the US population holds great apprehension towards them. This research sought to compare and contrast autonomous vehicle concerns with those of prior technologies that experienced similar concerns to identify prior solutions that were effective in addressing similar fears and to understand the differences in scenarios. This led to the key differentiating factor of autonomous vehicles being the loss of autonomy over individual safety that comes with autonomous vehicle use. Understanding this will allow regulators to better target their efforts in alleviating public skepticism.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Autonomous Vehicles
Issued Date: