There is no shortage of ways in which driving automation touches on equity-related issues, and the four topics we are addressing this month just scratch the surface. Understanding the challenges and opportunities facing the equitable deployment of autonomous vehicles is an ongoing goal here at PAVE, and while the topics we are looking at this month are important, there are many other important issues that we look forward to discussing as this effort continues.
We hope that these conversations shed some light on issues that are sometimes overlooked, and that they spark broader conversations about AVs and social equity. If there are other issues or speakers that you would like for us to look at, and that would enhance our discussions about AVs and social equity, please do let us know in our contact form.
In the meantime, here are our four February virtual panels with links to the registration pages. We look forward to seeing you there!
As we develop new vehicle technologies, we have an incredible opportunity to re-think mobility: how can we create a transportation system that works for people who are not well-served by current transportation options?
Last fall, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the Inclusive Design Challenge, which offered financial rewards to design innovative systems and features for autonomous vehicles that solve access barriers for people with physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities.
One of the ten semi-finalist teams is PAVE Member May Mobility and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), who proposed an AV shuttle with an independent wheelchair loading and passenger securement system. During this PAVE virtual panel, representatives from May Mobility and UMTRI will discuss their proposal, as well as Kent Keyser from United Spinal, who will talk about the state of accessibility technology and important considerations as we move forward.
- Kathy Klinich — Associate Director, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute
- Kent Keyser — Public Policy Fellow, United Spinal Association
- Tara Lanigan — Head of Policy & Advocacy, May Mobility
Imagine an autonomous vehicle. Now zoom out: where do you picture that AV operating? Most of us likely envisioned it in a dense city of the future, as most discussion of the technology centers on urban applications. But what about rural roads? Are there opportunities for AVs to improve transportation outside of cities? This week’s PAVE virtual discussion focuses on this often-overlooked context for AVs, examining the mobility challenges facing rural populations and what AVs might be able to bring to the table.
- Rich Granger — Managing Director of Workforce and Economic Development, DriveOhio
- Jiaqi Ma — Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California Los Angeles
- Alex Lybarger — Assistant Director of Advanced Mobility, TRC (Transportation Research Center Inc.)
Modern AI techniques are critical to making autonomous vehicles possible, allowing an AV to understand and navigate scenarios that are too complex, random and dynamic for traditional coding techniques. But as AI proliferates across our society, there’s a growing awareness that this powerful tool can also create and reinforce biases with deeply inequitable results. Drawing on lessons learned in fields like facial recognition and law enforcement, the AV sector has the opportunity — and indeed the obligation — to understand and address this hugely important issue before AVs hit the road in large numbers. This week’s PAVE virtual discussion will take that first step, looking at what AI bias is, where it comes from, how it could specifically affect AVs and what to do about it.
- Nandita Mangal — Platform Function Owner — HMI Autonomous Driving, Aptiv
- Leslie Nooteboom — Co-founder/Chief Product Officer at Humanising Autonomy
As we continue our February focus on equity and AVs, this virtual panel will look at older adults and how AVs could increase mobility options for this growing demographic. Many older adults face reduced mobility — both due to difficulties operating a vehicle and limited transportation options — which complicates essential daily tasks, such as attending doctor appointments, buying food, and remaining connected with others.
About one-third of Americans 65 and older have limited access to mobility, and this population is expected to grow to 83.7 million by 2050. Our panel brings together experts from PAVE companies Nuro and Voyage, who are working to improve mobility for older Americans, and a leader from the National Council on Aging. The group will discuss the importance of considering the needs of older adults as we develop new vehicle technologies and re-think mobility.
- Nina Qi — Chief Operating Officer, Voyage
- Greg Rogers — Public Policy Manager, Nuro
- Kathy Cameron — Center for Healthy Aging Senior Director, National Council on Aging