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].

19 thoughts 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.

  2. I believe that a mistake most observers make is assuming that the adoption of self-driving automobiles is solely at the discretion of customer demand. They are forgetting the insurance companies. If they decide that we’re safer in driverless cars, then they will charge the laggards more for insurance to ensure the outcome over time. The government is another huge factor. Saving the lives of children will rule out the concerns of freedom lovers.

  3. Do you remember those terror attacks in London and Nice? The drivers were gunned down by the police. What would have been the outcome if there had been no drivers? Technology can backfire on us if we are not cautious.

  4. I’ve suggest this in very strict ruled city because many times some cruitial situation may arise at that time we can not only depends upon AI.

    For some specific area, location, event, campus it would work greatly.

  5. Highways with only autonomous vehicles would be significantly safer than highways are today, because the autonomous vehicles would follow the rules of the road and be more aware of their surroundings. The discussion ought not be whether autonomous vehicles should be allowed, but whether human drivers should not be banned. Even in a mixed driving environment, it would be sensible to build restrictions into human-driven cars so that they cannot exceed the speed limit, must come to a full stop at traffic lights and stop signs, and must stop or slow down if someone or something crosses their path. The world would be a safer place.

  6. Here I want to say, what is the difference between human intelligence and artificial intelligence?
    01. Human intelligence is analogue as work in the form of signals and artificial intelligence is digital, they majorly works in the form of numbers.
    02. There is a distinctions in hardware & software thing in human working mind. Their intelligence is not based on these issues.
    03. Human brain does have body but their brain is no body.
    04. Last but the most important difference we can gather up is that human intelligence is bigger and artificial intelligence as the name suggests is artificial, little & temporary.
    05. Human intelligence is reliable where as artificial intelligence is not. (Etc)

    So one things is clear that GOD has made no one else can replace it.
    So, I think that it is not better for human being perfectly. It may be help us few better solution, but not 100% better solution for human being. We have to face many problem from this system.

  7. Technology is pacing at speeds much higher than homo sapiens’ understanding. Of course, what we have now is because of what we have learned and achieved, but what we are doing with it might lead to consequences which are not of our interest. Sci-fi movies are the source of new ideas in technological development, but how have those movies ended – destruction.
    In the era of growing Big Data and IoT, and cyber crimes and hacking, how safe will this driverless car be? What will happen to millions of mechanical cars being used now? Is the tremendous work of scientists making the common man lazy?
    What are we humans made for? Build such machines to help our chores which soon might replace us. We are only alive to make machines do our work. The concept is great and should be granted to people with physical disability or such constraints. Because the more automated you make the machine, the less control we have on it. If machines can learn themselves using AI, there is a lot more they can do which we might regret in coming centuries.
    Technology, please don’t interfere so much in the ‘normal human lives’.

  8. This means that we follow the method of antihuman in isolating workers from work and replacing them with machines. This is a grave mistake. We will take the consequences of those actions.
    The lens of the vehicle may be impaired by a virus or something else and accidents can not be imagined. Also, the removal of humans in most businesses may lead to negative behaviors (crime) to provide life requirements. As the auto-driving vehicles project has been successful, the project may expand to other facilities and thus destroy human beings.
    The project of machinery is more dangerous and worrisome than climate change. Suppose others could remotely control those vehicles in terrorist acts!

  9. Repeatedly through history, we’ve built machines that do what we do, better. Today, we’ve progressed from labor-saving to IQ-saving devices: machines that think and act so that we don’t have to ourselves. Do I believe that driverless cars would eventually make transportation safer? Absolutely. They will follow the rules, react lightning-fast, and simultaneously integrate input from multiple sensors. We still face challenges, of course. You know when that schmuck in the BMW is about to cut you off…but how to teach such intuition to a machine? Then there’s the cyber battle, crucial for the security of these devices. As we accept driverless cars, we must understand that many will inevitably become helpless without them—and this, not the engineering, is our chief peril. I know people who couldn’t drive a manual to save their lives, or get lost en route to the supermarket without a gps. Where does it end?

  10. Since the industrial revolution machines have slowly gained popularity as the best way to get things done,from agriculture to manufacturing techonology has creeped its way into human lives and we have been quick to applaud its effieciency,speed and accuracy. But one glaring difference between today’s world and the 1800 hundred is that the population has grown seven fold, from 1 billion in 1804 to the current 7 billion estimate in 2011. Technology has also advanced to levels our fore-fathers could only have imagined. Apart from technological problems like hacking, power blackouts, poor or weak connections and outright computer errors for example we’ve all had that moment when a computer simply refuses do respond to simple commands like ALT-SHIFT-DELETE or what would a machine do if the vehicle experinced a puncuture or it was involved in an accident? Apart from all these challenges the biggest would be the effect these driverless vehicles would have on the labour market, according to statistics there are 13,237 taxi cabs in New York alone operated by 42000 different taxi cab drivers. If we were to embrace this technology millions of families would be left without a steady flow of income, as much as new techonogies are good we should always way its pros and cons lest we plunge oureslves into another depression.

  11. Research shows that the new autonomous vechiles will trigger much larger system impact than has been assumed previously. As a result it can be argued that eventually these novel cars might not become so widespresd in the end (1*, 2*,3*, 4*). Certaintly there are benefits and positive externalities but everyday life is much more complex so that it could rely solely on robots behind the wheel (2*,4*). The transport industry has extensive lobby power globally and the question of regulation across the societies might turn politicians uncertain about outcomes, as it did in the case of Uber in many countries in the EU. It can be suggested that driverless auto will be utilized first in the freight sector and the shipping, the railway together with the car manufactures will have a commond ground to collaborate in the future. Robots will be not able to replace completely humans as drivers in large densely populated metropolies still they will be employed on decidated transport connections such as between a port and a railway station in a city center.

    1*Jonas Meyer, Henrik Becker*, Patrick M. B€osch, Kay W. Axhausen (2017). “Autonomous vehicles: The next jump in accessibilities?”, Artilce in press, Research in Transportation Economics xxx (2017) 1-12
    2* Todd Litman (2017). “Autonomous Vechile Implementation Predections – Implications for Transport Planning” 1 May 2017 Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Available at: , accessed 3 May 2017
    3* Neil Hamilton (2017). “‘Autonomous logistics’ won’t be truly autonomous until connectivity issues are resolved” 7 April 2017. Lloyds Loading list Maritime Intelligence, Informa Group, Available at: , accessed 3 May 2017
    4* Ken Lyon (2017). “False assumptions, not bad technology, are the biggest problem for logistics start-ups”. Logistics Briefing by the Transport Intelligence Ltd., April 27, 2017

  12. As someone studying psychiatry, it’s always my wish to have my patients able to take care of themselves. This new advance may have both harms and benefits. We may enable people with cognitive deficit to drive, for example people with dementia or intellectual disability. If we set the device to lock before reaching destination, it may enable them to connect with various people and facility.

    However, it may also lessen our thinking activity, as driving is one of the few things that force our brain to work. I hope this advance doesn’t end up causing us to become overreliant to machine or more prone to cognitive problem because of lack of stimulation.

  13. Fear of the future is not unusual, and causes us to place sufficient checks and balances moving forward. So fear of a completely autonomous “driving” system is natural. I live on a highway where traffic is regular, predictable and spaced during the hours of 8:30 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. so cruise control or autonomous vehicles can work. However, from 4:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m and 2:30p.m. to 7:30 p.m. the “Wheelers” are out as are the “late for workers”, the j-walkers, the “side of the highway joggers”, the animals, the homeless, the creative traffic jam bandits, the road fixers and school children and I dare the survival of the best autonomous vehicles. Flying vehicles stand a better chance in Trinidad and Tobago.

    (Or swerve, or brake in a rapid pulsing pattern,…) But, AI doesn’t feel love, rather it makes programmed choices which are innately value driven by the programmer. Should cars be programmed to abide by the laws of the road? To never exceed the speed limit? Will police cars, fire trucks and ambulances be driverless? Would an ER doctor driving a personal car racing to the hospital be able to speed and run a red light too? Would a nurse? An anesthesiologist? Can exceptions can be accounted for?

    Would you like the car which swerves for the greater good, to save the lives of the 4 passengers of the oncoming colliding car at the cost of your single life? Or are you the doctor racing to the ER whose life could save many others?

    Can I ask the auto manufacturer, will my car save me?

  15. Thank you to all those who entered this competition; we will select a winner as soon as possible.

  16. The move of technology into automation of the car has been ongoing for some time. The introduction of anti-lock braking systems and traction control systems/electronic stability progrmames has taken the decision making about identifying a loss of control and traction with the road and acting appropriately out of drivers’ hands as a computer can identify and repond much quicker in most instances (except at slow speeds on ice). Electronic hill start assistance has been taken up without issue and will be preventing incidents due to driver error and similarly adaptive cruise control and lane identification technology allows partial automation of longer distance motorway driving already where driver error and fatigue are commonplace.

    There will always be resistance to new technologies aimed at safety, for example seatbelt legislation in the UK was hotly disputed when introduced however there can be little doubt that seatbelts save lives. I believe the biggest hurdles will be convincing people to give up the prestige elements of owning their own car (as doubtless a shared scheme starts to make more sense in a driverless world) and in convincing people to give up the perceived human liberty in driving for oneself rather than being at the mercy of the machines in some matrix-esque distopian future.

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