Impacts Associated with Fully Autonomous Systems that will Affect the Future of Transportation and Technology

Williams, Jaylon, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Earle, Joshua, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Quinlan, Jesse, EN-Mech/Aero Engr Dept, University of Virginia

In this paper, I aim to describe the effects that autonomous vehicles might have on future generations. The main conclusions of the paper are that driverless vehicles will likely bring forth both positive and negative effects on society. Additionally, society will need to be flexible in accepting and implementing this technology. To support this claim, various technical aspects of driverless vehicles and pieces of evidence that discuss the future effects of autonomous vehicles are given.
Technology has transformed tremendously in the last decade. Along with this transition, I have noticed that the human experience is rarely ever accounted for as a priority. Instead, the priority is usually profits and/or maintaining a power advantage. I realize the future is moving into an age where decisions will vastly be made by algorithms instead of humans. The success of fully autonomous systems will be based on how well people trust these systems due to the skepticism of those unwilling to rely fully on robotic systems for their safety. There are effects of fully automated systems that we cannot anticipate at the present, however, as time goes on designers will have to find creative ways to get the public to trust them with their safety.
In the United States, racism has been a part of the country's core systems, and this is no different when discussing technologies. AI is a system that is used in autonomous vehicles and these systems do not rely on visible light but instead use LIDAR technology to create a 3D representation of a particular area. When evaluating conducted research the results show that fully autonomous technologies have failed to address basic problems associated with driverless vehicles, such as detecting darker skin tones.
Before such a change can be made in society there would need to be additional funding to support research in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and laws incorporated by the government in order for autonomous vehicles to thrive. This is important as each state would potentially have vehicle laws that differ from each other.
In regards to how the environment and society will be affected by fully autonomous vehicles, I plan to acquire statistical data from greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide levels, starting from the manufacturing of vehicular parts required. This will allow me to recognize any atmospheric changes that occurred due to the use of autonomous vehicles. My research will also display what humans decide to do with older outdated technology. In order to acquire this data, I will depend on automotive companies to record trade-in data through a trade-in program where they allow consumers to trade in old products in return for in-store credits.
In this section, I plan to outline the findings of my research and discuss the key results regarding how the future of transportation will affect society. When cities were being designed, people did not think about future technology with the concrete solutions that they were instilling. Fully autonomous vehicles are the first step towards correcting mistakes made with 20th-century automobiles. In the past, automobiles were designed to transport goods rather than people and did not consider the atmosphere and worldwide pollution.
As self-driving vehicles become more attractive in society, the ways that vehicles are designed will change, depending on the needs of the vehicle. With the addition of self-driving vehicles, interior designs have a plethora of options, especially since a driver will no longer be needed. A futuristic possibility could be a multi-purpose interior where attachments could be added to customize trips and fit any particular occasion.
I have come to the conclusion that there is no perfect solution for autonomous vehicles. Whether we like it or not, driverless vehicles are fast becoming a reality, with engineers at top automotive companies designing safe and affordable autonomous vehicles. As we all know, autonomous vehicles have the potential to impact society significantly sooner rather than later. Autonomous vehicles could also provide driverless mobility to a broad range of people who are currently able to drive a vehicle, and also those who can not due to personal conditions. These positive possibilities make self-driving vehicles attractive, and can often make people overlook the downsides to the idea. However, the benefits also come with risks, and hopefully, there will be a minimum amount of risks, which will result in a safer environment altogether.

BS (Bachelor of Science)

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Technical Advisor: Jesse Quinlan
STS Advisor: Joshua Earle
Technical Team Members: Jemma Johnson, Jaylon Williams, Lama Khraibani, Logan Honts,
Nicholas Martin, Quang Lam, Ryan Keough, Yicong Fu

Issued Date: