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SIU Architecture Professor Looks to Future of Automated Cars

Source: The Southern

Shannon McDonald, an assistant professor of architectural studies, was one of the founding organizers of the Transportation Research Board’s Road Vehicle Automation Conference last year. She was also part of organizing the second conference, held in July, at Stanford University in California.

This year’s conference attracted twice as many people as expected. Perhaps the highly anticipated availability of the Google self-driving car attracted professionals and academics in greater numbers. Or perhaps it is the increasing awareness that driverless cars really are on the drawing board -- and soon. Google, a pioneer in driverless technology, used the conference to reaffirm its commitment to public Level 4 vehicles in mixed traffic by 2018. Level 4 refers to “full self-driving automation,” according to categories established by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration.

“Now that automated vehicle technology is coming into our world, it will dramatically impact how we design our buildings, cities and towns,” McDonald said.  That is why, she said, the conference is so important, and why it draws academics and professional from so many different areas. 

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