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07.12.2012

5 Key Takeaways from AUVSI’s Driverless Car Summit 2012

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Related topics: Automotive · Events
Cars driving themselves? It seems like something out of a Sci-fi movie like Will Smith’s 2004 hit, I, Robot. The concept might seem futuristic, but the attendees of the AUVSI’s Driverless Car Summit are trying to make it a reality.

In June 2012, more than 200 scientists, lawyers, engineers, policymakers, and corporations met in Detroit, Michigan, to discuss the possibilities of automated consumer vehicles on our highways by 2022. As one of the sponsorship attendees, Autonomous Solutions was able to send a member of our team, Eric Budd, to attend the sessions.

Below are Eric’s five key takeaways from the Driverless Car Summit (DCS) 2012:

Cultural Shift. In his opening address, Governor of Michigan, Hon. Rick Snyder, stated that one major obstacle to be addressed before autonomous consumer vehicles are accepted on public roads is cultural acceptance. The public as a whole still views automated vehicles either as a technology of the future or that isn’t reliable. What they may not realize is that autonomous vehicle technology already exists and is proven.

Driver assistance technologies like automated parallel parking and adaptive cruise control (known as ACC) are in the market today and bring us one step closer to cars that drive themselves.


A cultural shift doesn't happen overnight, so people are unlikely to believe the viability of automated consumer vehicles right now. But as car manufacturers implement proven driver assistance technologies, world culture will gradually shift from skepticism to acceptance of autonomous vehicle benefits.

Significant Benefits of Automation. From productivity to safety, automated vehicles provide many benefits to consumers. Chuck Thorpe, Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, stated that one of the most compelling benefits of autonomous technology is its ability to avoid accidents.

In 2010, automobile fatalities totaled 32,708. Many of these highway fatalities were caused by distracted, drowsy, or substance abuse impaired drivers.In addition, according to Dr. Steve Underwood, Director of the Connected Vehicle Proving Center, University of Michigan–Dearborn, statistics have shown that the average person will experience three to four vehicle accidents in their lifetimes with one of those accidents involving personal injury up to and including the death. On the contrary, projections have shown the use of autonomous vehicles could eliminate up to 80% of the vehicle fatalities, potentially making these technologies significant highway safety methods.