Michigan State, Texas A&M studying impact of driverless cars on workforce

February 21, 2018 - Michaeli Graham, Ed Scoop

Story from Ed Scoop. Original article: https://edscoop.com/michigan-state-texas-a-m-studying-impact-of-driverless-cars-on-workforce

Michigan State University is leading a study to better understand and measure the impact of driverless cars on the current transportation workforce.

Texas A&M’s Transportation Institute will offer additional research and resources throughout the duration of the project, which was commissioned by the American Center for Mobility (ACM).

The study will also consider the type of training necessary to prepare the future workforce to adapt to the effects of autonomous vehicles.

“The adoption of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) has the potential to lead to job impacts in the transportation and mobility sector and create a range of new labor opportunities in businesses that develop and implement innovative usage models for CAVs,” said Shelia Cotten, MSU Foundation professor and director of the Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation and Research, in a statement.

ACM — a nonprofit testing, education and product development facility based in Ypsilanti, Michigan — says it is dedicated to automotive vehicle technology and accelerating the development of voluntary standards. The center provides “real-world environment testing,” Soraya Kim, ACM’s chief innovation officer, told EdScoop. Michigan State is located not far from ACM, in East Lansing.

TTI is supporting the study by supplying its expertise and research in truck platooning, which refers to the line of vehicles following each other closely and taking directions from a lead driver. AARP and Waymo are co-sponsoring the study with ACM.

“Connected and automated technologies have the potential to create a safer and less stressful occupation for platooning truck drivers while creating opportunities to be involved with cutting-edge technologies that will change the way freight logistics will be delivered in the future,” said Christopher Poe, assistant director of connected and automated transportation strategy at the TTI, in a statement.

The research, interviews and roundtable discussions will be conducted in Texas, California and Michigan from now until May. As ACM draws from the results, it will implement programs to deploy to the 15 universities involved in its education initiative.

“Our goal is to ensure that employees, employers and policymakers are informed about the potential developments, so they can approach them proactively rather than reacting to issues as they arise,” Kim said in a statement.

Results from the study will be shared this summer.