My co-founder Sam has written in the past about the hype surrounding the autonomous vehicle industry. In many ways, this excitement has fueled innovation and momentum for self-driving car companies, encouraging us all to keep deploying resources and improving the technology. But there is a disconnect between the private sector’s optimism and the public’s skepticism. In an effort to address this, Perceptive Automata has joined the Partners for Automated Vehicle Education, or the PAVE Coalition.
PAVE’s objective is to foster partnerships between organizations (including industry, non-profit, and academic institutions) that are committed to educating policymakers and the public about the potential of autonomous vehicles. In doing so, PAVE hopes to improve the safety, mobility, and sustainability of AV technology.
We quickly realized that PAVE’s aspirations were in line with our own. At Perceptive Automata, we’re incredibly passionate about shaping AV policy with safety as a priority, and we want the public to have transparent, accessible resources for understanding how self-driving technology works. The opportunity to collaborate on these resources and outreach with other companies and thought leaders in the industry who share our priorities is exciting.
Two of the most fundamental barriers to AV adoption have to do with negative public perception — many people believe that AVs present too many risks and that the underlying technology isn’t trustworthy. While industry safety standards are improving and AV technology has tremendous potential to make people’s lives safer and easier, most people lack first-hand experience with the technology. The public’s skepticism is justifiable, but it presents a challenge to the industry’s viability — a 2018 Brookings survey found that only 21% of people were willing to ride in an AV.
The solution to this problem is fairly straightforward. Trust can only be built by keeping everyone — including policymakers, business officials, and potential passengers — informed. AV companies need to continuously research, test, and perfect AI algorithms to eliminate (to the extent that elimination is possible) the risks associated with AVs.
We must work with local, state, and federal governments and organizations to educate the public about the great potential the technology holds and the progress we have made so far. PAVE’s public education campaign will provide information to consumers and high-level decision-makers through hands-on public demonstration events, policymaker workshops for officials at all levels, educational materials, and active online educational efforts. We’re looking forward to the results this collective will achieve.
If you’re interested in following our journey, connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn. If you’d like to join us in pursuing our mission to bring human intuition to machines, check out our job openings.