Michigan Minds Podcast: Safety realities of autonomous vehicles

By Terry Kosdrosky

Public Engagement & Impact


There’s a lot of excitement about the potential for autonomous vehicles, and plenty of speculation that crashes will be a thing of the past or that we might be able to nap during the ride.


Not so fast, says U-M professor Matt Reed, who heads the biosciences group at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI.)


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Taking the driver out of the equation doesn’t mean an end to auto accidents, he says. And his research shows that the kind of reclining position that one might sleep in could be dangerous.


There’s still a lot to iron out before we get to driverless cars on the highway. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot to be excited about. Reed sees tremendous potential for  driverless vehicles in the near future.


“Automated, low-speed vehicles have the potential to increase mobility and access for big populations of people who have very limited access,” he says. “There’s a lot of potential upside. We just have to make sure we’re not creating increased injury risk.”


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