“Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car And How It Will Reshape Our World” by Lawrence D. Burns— Changing Our Way of Life

Burns, Lawrence D. “Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car And How It Will Reshape Our World”, Ecco, 2018

Changing Our Way of Life

Amos Lassen

There has been a great deal of talk lately about driverless cars and this is something that many of us have a hard time understanding. All of the automobile countries are involved in a race to build and perfect the vehicle that will change all of our lives. Lawrence D. Burns is a veteran insider of the automotive industry and in his book, “Autonomy”, he shares what he knows on the subject.

Burns is a former General Motors executive and now serves as advisor to the Google Self-Driving Car project. In his book, he presents a history of the race to make the driverless car a reality. In the past decade, Silicon Valley companies including Google, Tesla and Uber have put themselves into positions to change and revolutionize the way we get around by developing driverless vehicles while at the same time auto companies (General Motors, Ford, and Daimler) have been fighting back by partnering by with new tech start-ups. It is no longer a question of whether the self-driving car will disrupt the automobile industry but now rather a question of when, how, and who will do so.

It is predicted that the first driverless car will likely hit markets in less than five years and it is sure to change lives. Burns explains how this new technology will impact our lives (removing the hassles of driving, parking, and refueling our cars, to eliminating 90 percent of road fatalities and drastically reducing our carbon footprint, and automating yet another segment of blue collar industries thus putting more workers out of their jobs). Just think how the smart phone has so tremendously changed the way we live now.

We are already a part of a technological revolution that promises to fundamentally change how we interact with our world. To understand all of this we need to be aware of the past, able to understand the present and ready to move into the future. A chronicle of the past, diagnosis of the present, and prediction of the future. Along with the driverless car, there will be many more changes and technological advances.  Burns was one of the first people to understand the enormous implications of driverless cars. His  involvement with those who have invented and commercialized this technology makes “Autonomy” not only a fascinating read but a very important read as well.

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