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Institute for Democracy & Higher Education

Making Sense of...Autonomous Vehicles

MSO autonomous vehicles

In an effort to cut through the seemingly endless stream of news we're faced with, IDHE periodically releases short discussion guides, called "Making Sense of..."  These short pieces are meant 1) as a way to become quickly acquainted with an issue, 2) see what people are reading on the topic, and 3) as a way to begin a conversation, using some discussion framing questions.  These guides are meant for use by anyone, but in particular we encourage use by college faculty (in classrooms and in disciplinary clubs) and in co-curricular campus settings.

This edition deals with the issue of autonomous vehicles/self-driving cars.  While much of the early coverage of the progression of this technology was limited to tech publications, the advances of the industry into civic spaces have broadened the conversation.  Technology companies are competing with automobile manufacturers to emerge as the leader in this space, and the fast-paced movement has resulted in complex questions around ethics, accessibility and equity, civic responsibility, and the future of our economy.  This guide is meant as a starting point for thinking through some of these questions.