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The Driverless Future's Stakeholders Featured Pattern: P1147 December 2017

Author: Katerie Whittman (Send us feedback.)

Many organizations and constituencies outside the automotive industry are coming to see themselves as stakeholders in the driverless future.

Abstracts in this Pattern:

Self-driving technology has already proved disruptive for automakers, which now find themselves in a race to reinvent their businesses. But automakers do not constitute the only constituency the technology is affecting. Other constituencies are now seeing themselves as stakeholders in the driverless future and are working to advance their interests.

Foremost, policy makers are looking at self-driving technology. An ethics commission initiated by Alexander Dobrindt, former minister of the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (Berlin, Germany), recently released ethical guidelines for driverless applications. But multiple points of view exist among people in the automotive industry. For example, some former Tesla (Palo Alto, California) engineers reportedly had concerns about the safety and reliability of the driverless technologies the company is developing.

Some stakeholders are looking at potentially positive effects of driverless vehicles for members of their constituency. Cities constitute a major constituency that could benefit from the advent of driverless vehicles. For example, Paris, France, has been looking at the wide deployment of driverless vehicles to reduce pollution and congestion and to free up parking spaces for better uses. People with disabilities that prevent them from driving constitute another constituency that seeks benefits from the deployment of driverless vehicles. For members of this constituency, driverless vehicles represent a chance to obtain new freedoms; however, this chance exists only if other stakeholders take special-needs individuals into account when deploying driverless solutions. To that end, the National Federation of the Blind (Baltimore, Maryland) is promoting its members' interests to government and industry.

Driverless technologies also raise concerns. One such concern is that autonomous cars could eliminate jobs. For instance, Ford Motor Company (Dearborn, Michigan) and Domino's Pizza (Ann Arbor, Michigan) are working on self-driving pizza-delivery vehicles. Another concern is that owners of autonomous vehicles could be dissatisfied with them. Audi's (Volkswagen Group; Wolfsburg, Germany) 25th Hour research project aims to understand what people will do in vehicles once they no longer have to operate them and what car companies can do to prevent boredom in self-driving-vehicle passengers.