No One at the Wheel: Driverless Cars and the Road of the Future

Samuel I. Schwartz, with Karen Kelly. PublicAffairs, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-1-61039-865-7
The bold opening prediction that autonomous vehicles, or AVs, will be the “most disruptive technology... since the advent of the motorcar” is amply and insightfully supported by Schwartz (Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and the Fall of Cars), former New York City traffic commissioner and the New York Daily News’s “Gridlock Sam” columnist. He clearly illuminates both the promise and the peril of driverless vehicles, which will affect “family and work life, business, politics, ethics, the environment, travel, health, and yes, our happiness.” Before the expected expansion of the AV industry in the coming decades into a “multitrillion-dollar business—bigger than Amazon and Walmart combined as they exist today,” Schwartz hopes that both policymakers and average citizens will think carefully; while AVs could make streets safer, they could also create an even more sedentary and unhealthy society. He contextualizes the current transportation revolution through a history of the rise and impact of motor vehicles, noting that commercial interests led to changes that defaulted in favor of the car and its driver, rather than the pedestrian, a history that he hopes won’t be repeated with AVs. This is an essential treatise on a technology whose development and regulation will have an impact on “the future health of people, economies, cities, and more.” (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/10/2018
Release date: 11/13/2018
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