Mendeley Brainstorm – The End of Driving: Getting into Gear?

Are we ready to entrust our transport to autonomous machines?

The driverless vehicle is one of the most significant practical applications of Artificial Intelligence. It will change how we travel from place to place and how our supply chains are managed. But is humanity ready to trust machines with something so vital? Or would we be taking too much a risk? We are looking for the most well thought out answer to this question in up to 150 words: use the comment feature below the blog and please feel free to promote your research! The winner will receive an Amazon gift certificate worth £50 and a bag full of Mendeley items; competition closes May 10, 2017.

Taking the Wheel

Perhaps one of the most significant changes wrought by Artificial Intelligence to our daily lives will be the arrival of driverless vehicles. In addition to Google’s Waymo project, which aims to replace passenger cars, autonomous lorries will transform how goods are shipped.

Are We Ready?

The chief executive of FedEx Freight, Michael Ducker, recently stated his company could soon rely on self-driving vehicles. He told the Financial Times: “It is coming faster than many people think, just because technology is advancing so rapidly…I think technology will lead, and sociological issues will lag, in this particular case.”

Green Light, Yellow Light

In theory, autonomous vehicles should be an improvement; machines are immune to the misjudgements that human beings make out on the road. Furthermore, they don’t tire like human drivers do, and thus the movement of both people and freight should be faster and more efficient. Nevertheless, the car is viewed as a means to achieve personal independence; many people’s livelihoods depend on the transport industry.

Get into Gear?

Is humanity ready to entrust transport to machines? Or are we taking too much a risk? What about the impact to employment? What is your view? Tell us!

About Mendeley Brainstorms

Our Brainstorms are challenges so we can engage with you, our users, on the hottest topics in the world of research.  We look for the most in-depth and well thought through responses; the best response as judged by the Mendeley team will earn a prize.


Hook, L. (2017). FedEx Freight calls for US self-driving truck regulations. The Financial Times. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Apr. 2017].

Waymo. (2017). Waymo. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Apr. 2017].

One thought on “Mendeley Brainstorm – The End of Driving: Getting into Gear?

  1. An important risk with autonomous vehicles is how they are able to navigate with human driven vehicles. Humans are not predictable (especially on the road!) and this might be the most difficult variable to program for, leading one to assume that ultimately all vehicles will be autonomous. I feel that humanity will be ready to trust autonomous vehicles, if and when we reach that point. This would be a paradigm shift for the auto industry as well as American culture. Will this industry shrink as future drivers care less about the driving experience in a world where we may no longer even own an automobile? My recent Uber experience is an argument for consumers to consider a world where it may no longer be necessary or desirable to own such a future car, which would have no more appeal than a ride on an elevator.

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