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2019 - Choices and Challenges: Self-driving Cars in the New River Valley

Choices and Challenges: Self-driving Cars in the New River Valley
Choices and Challenges is an ongoing public engagement series exploring ethical and social issues created by advances in science and technology. Join us for this free event.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Inn at Virginia Tech*
*Cascades & Drillfield (Technical plenary & Roundtables)
*Lower Quad (Poster session)
*Latham Ballroom B (Main panel & Community dialogue)

Coffee Break The Inn at Virginia Tech third floor

  • 2:00 - 2:15 pm
  • 3:30 - 3:45 pm

Poster Session Lower Quad

  • 1:00 - 5:00 pm

Meet Poster Presenters Lower Quad

  • 2:00 - 2:15 pm
  • 3:30 - 3:45 pm

This event seeks to explore the choices we still face and the challenges raised by the potential presence of self-driving cars on our roads and in our lives.
While most thinking about and planning for self-driving cars has focused on urban environments, the New River Valley’s mixture of small town and rural communities offers a unique opportunity for exploring a range of questions. Will these vehicles interfere with our privacy? Are they safe, for passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and others? Will they undermine existing public transportation options, or expand public transportation into new communities? Will they increase or decrease transportation accessibility for poor communities, the elderly, and the disabled? Will they shift patterns of vehicle ownership? Will they improve traffic or create new problems? Will they require new regulations, and if so, by whom and of what sort? Are they ultimately good or bad for our environment, our communities, and our personal lives? Our Choices and Challenges forum will bring together internationally-recognized experts and the public to discuss these and other important questions.

Directions

The Inn at Virginia Tech
901 Prices Fork Road
Blacksburg, Virginia

From I-81, Exit 118B, take the 460 bypass to Blacksburg. Exit at Prices Fork Road toward Downtown. Travel about a half mile, then turn right on University City Blvd and Price Fork
Road intersection.

Free parking is available in the guest parking lots at the Inn at Virginia Tech.

The Choices and Challenges Project

Co-directors Saul Halfon and Lee Vinsel
Project committee members
Tracy McElroy, Miguel Perez, and Wenwen Zhang
Research associates
Marcia Davitt and Kuan-Hung Lo
Founder and Past Director
Doris T. Zallen

Virginia Tech
Mail Code 0247
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Email: khlo@vt.edu

Background Sessions 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm

The Inn at Virginia Tech, Cascades and Drillfield

Technical plenary Cascades
The technical aspects of self-driving cars

Moderator
Miguel Perez, VTTI
Discussants

Chuck Green, Independent Consultant
Michael Avitabile, TORC
Charlie Klauer, VTTI
Andy Schaudt, VTTI
Tammy Trimble, VTTI

Roundtable Cascade A
Data security, privacy, maps, and algorithms 

Data security, hacking, algorithms, mapping, and GPS in rural areas

Janine Hiller, Finance, Insurance, and Business Law
Randy Marchany, Information Technology Security

Roundtable Cascade B
Equity and social disparities

Impact on vulnerable communities, affordability, power relation, and differentials

Marcia Davitt, STS
Ellington Graves, Sociology

Roundtable Drillfield
Regulation, liability, and governance           

Governance of technology, liability, accountability, regulations, legal landscape

Todd Schenk, School of Public and International Affairs
Thomas Skuzinski, Urban Affairs and Planning
Lee Vinsel, STS

The background discussions are led by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the Department of Science, Technology, and Society, and the following University Destination and Strategic Growth Areas: Intelligent Infrastructure for Human Centered Communities, Integrated Security, Equity and Social Disparity in the Human Condition, Policy, and Adaptive Brain and Behavior.

Background Sessions 3:45 pm - 5:00 pm

The Inn at Virginia Tech, Cascades and Drillfield

Roundtable Cascade A
Mobility and accessibility

Accessibility, mobility, impacts on people struggling with independence, groups with special needs


Barry Miller, The Biomechanics Helmet Lab

Roundtable Cascade B
Infrastructure: transportation, pedestrians and roads    

New/transformed infrastructure and habitat changes, ecological impacts, infrastructure resilience in the context of shifting weather patterns, infrastructural promise and needs

William Christopher, VTTI
Tracy McElroy, IIHCC Destination Area

Roundtable Drillfield
Values, culture, and choice

Social/cultural/political impacts, modes of development, values embedded in systems, politics of self-driving cars development and choices over time, affect and experience, local choices with global impacts   

Marcia Davitt, STS

The background discussions are led by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the Department of Science, Technology, and Society, and the following University Destination and Strategic Growth Areas: Intelligent Infrastructure for Human Centered Communities, Integrated Security, Equity and Social Disparity in the Human Condition, Policy, and Adaptive Brain and Behavior.

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

The Inn at Virginia Tech, Latham Ballroom B

The main panel is streamed live. View live streaming!

Moderator

Lee Vinsel, Choices and Challenges, Virginia Tech

Lee Vinsel
Assistant professor in Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech

Panelists

Ronald Arkin, Choices and Challenges, Virginia Tech

Ronald Arkin
Regents' Professor and Director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory at Georgia Tech. His research interests include behavior-based reactive control and action-oriented perception for mobile robots and unmanned aerial vehicles, robot survivability, human-robot interaction, robot ethics, and learning in autonomous systems.

Meredith Broussard, Choices and Challenges, Virginia Tech

Meredith Broussard
Data journalist and an assistant professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University. Her academic research focuses on artificial intelligence in investigative reporting, with a particular interest in using data analysis for social good.

Giovanni Circella, Choices and Challenges, Virginia Tech

Giovanni Circella
The Director of the 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program at UC Davis, and a Senior Research Engineer at Georgia Tech. His research interests include emerging transportation services, autonomous vehicles, and policy analysis.

Tabitha Combs, Choices and Challenges, Virginia Tech

Tabitha Combs
Team member at NC State University’s Institute for Transportation Research and Education. She has expertise in transport and land use planning, equity impacts of new mobility innovations, and transport planning in developing contexts, with a particular focus on social and environmental impacts of transport policies.

Follow-up Session 8:15 pm - 9:00 pm

The Inn at Virginia Tech, Latham Ballroom B

Community dialogue                  
Build conversation among community members and local representatives of government and community organizations. Share your thoughts regarding self-driving cars in the New River Valley.

Moderators
Tracy McElroy, IIHCC DA
Wenwen Zhang, Urban Affairs and Planning