Skip to content

EdNC. Essential education news. Important stories. Your voice.

Reach Roundup: Self-driving cars

Note: The following is the weekly Reach Roundup newsletter from August 23, 2018. To sign up for this newsletter, leave your information below.

Reach: Self-driving Cars

Self-driving cars may soon be commonplace on the roads of North Carolina. Last week, Rep. David Price and the State Transportation Secretary James Trogdon discussed self-driving cars during a round table at NC State.They agreed that self-driving cars offer benefits for drivers, but said they would speak directly with auto manufacturers before crafting any legislation.

While many of our Reach NC Voices users said they would feel uncomfortable riding in a self-driving car, this technology is already being used across the country. Lyft just announced that they have completed 5,000 self-driving rides in Las Vegas. Last week, Kroger launched a pilot using self-driving vehicles for same-day delivery of groceries in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

However, safety concerns about widespread automation of vehicles remain. Self-driving cars have to navigate accurately, reliably, and safely through a variety of conditions and environments that are often far from standardized. During this period of transition as the technology continues to improve, it’s likely that self-driving cars will continue to be deployed in relatively controlled environments (like theme parks) and in places where it’s more cost-effective (like urban areas).

Every week, we write this newsletter based on how you respond to the question of the week. Your voice is needed. Our next question of the week is about community colleges.

Click here to weigh in! 

What you told us about self-driving cars:

Five Facts:

21 states
North Carolina is one of 21 states to enact legislation around self-driving cars. North Carolina law regulates operation on public highways, does not require a driver’s license, and requires an adult to be in the car with children under 12. 

1 of 10 testing sites
The Triangle Expressway in western Wake County is one of 10 locations nationwide selected by the federal government for autonomous vehicle testing. As of April, no company had yet tested on the 19-mile stretch of road.

94% human error
According to the National Highway Association, 94% of all car crashes are due to human error. Researchers estimate significant drops in fatal car accidents due to driverless cars in the coming decade.

2020 to market
Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Google, and Tesla have all announced launch dates for self-driving vehicles at or before 2020.

5 levels of automation
Level 1 is functionally like adaptive cruise control. By level 2, the car can steer, accelerate, and brake in some circumstances. Levels 4 and 5 are considered “driverless” in most circumstances.

Our Picks:

Uber’s Vision of Self-Driving Cars Begins to Blur | New York Times – 8/19/2018
After Dara Khosrowshahi took over as Uber’s chief executive last August, he considered shutting the company’s money-losing autonomous vehicle division. A visit to Pittsburgh this spring changed that.

Keep Reading

A Day in the Life of a Waymo Self-driving Taxi | The Verge – 8/21/2018
In a nondescript depot in suburban Arizona, the future of transportation is getting a tune-up. This is where Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet, houses its growing fleet of self-driving cars – hundreds of Chrysler Pacifica minivans fitted with highly advanced hardware and software that enables them to safely ride on public roads without a human driver behind the wheel.

Keep Reading

Question of the Week:


Travel Notes:

Here’s where our team is going this week.

– This weekend, Caroline Parker is visiting Faison and Ramseur to cover back-to-school events at local churches.

– Next week, our entire team is hitting the road to visit all 58 community colleges across the state. Follow along online at or on Twitter by following @Awake58.

The EducationNC team (aka the folks who make this newsletter!), with the exceptions of Liz Bell and Yasmin Bendaas, celebrated the release of our annual report and our upcoming visits to all 58 community colleges. Mebane Rash/EducationNC
Reach NC Voices Team

The Reach NC Voices team includes Nation Hahn, director of growth for EdNC; Molly Osborne, director of policy; Analisa Sorrells, chief of staff and associate director of policy; and Alli Lindenberg, engagement specialist.