AVs will be major global issue, says Michigan Gov. Snyder

In his keynote speech on Media Day at the 2018 Washington Auto Show (WAS), Jan. 25, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) spoke of the big changes that autonomous vehicles will bring.


“Autonomous vehicles and mobility are impacting our entire world,” Snyder said. “This will be a major global issue.”


The societal benefits will be dramatic, starting with the much improved safety from eliminating human error, the cause of more than 91 percent of motor vehicle accidents. AVs will also open opportunities for the disabled and seniors, who will no longer have to rely on public transportation, Snyder speculated.


AVs will increase efficiency, pushing us to ask how we can use our infrastructure more efficiently. AVs will first be used as shuttles in parking areas and on university campuses, Snyder said. Second will be shared riding, such as Uber and Lyft. Next will be commercial delivery. Domino’s Pizza, for instance, already uses an AV for delivery.


AVs bring challenges, too, said Snyder. How can they be properly tested for safety? Smart infrastructure will also need to be tested, in different situations: in a controlled environment, on the open road and in a computer simulation. Snyder mentioned MCity at the University of Michigan, a large AV testing site.


Another AV study site in Michigan, the Center for Mobility, has been upgraded and now spans 500 acres. A grand opening is planned this spring.


Dealerships will need to adapt, said Snyder. “Every dealership in the country needs to be able to repair RADAR and LIDAR,” two systems widely used in AVs, he said.


Cybersecurity is another concern. “What happens with all this data?” Snyder asked. “There’s a vastly different perception depending on how old you are.” Younger people are much less worried about data remaining private than older people are.

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