An MIT Alumni Association Publication

When talking about autonomous vehicles, one huge question remains—will they be as safe as those driven by people? According to Don MacKenzie SM '09, PhD '13, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Washington, the answer is no—at least not yet.

MacKenzie shared his thoughts during a recent installment of the MIT Alumni Association’s Faculty Forum Online, Alumni Edition. He talked about his research into the advances in the technology, the vehicles’ deployment in cities, and safety measures.

Much of MacKenzie’s work revolves around energy and environment, which he believes “are not the driving forces behind vehicle automation—it’s more about safety, roadway capacity, productivity—but energy and environment do have potentially very significant benefits.”

The talk was moderated by Aviva Rutkin SM ’13, data and math editor at The Conversation US, an independent source for informed analysis written by the academic community and edited by journalists. Questions during the forum, taken live from the global audience who tuned in, covered topics like city regulations, various development differences among different countries, and cybersecurity threats around autonomous vehicles.

Catch up on previous panels from the Faculty Forum Online here:

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