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Self-driving cars (AV) are the future wave of the automotive industry and there is widespread debate about their impact on transportation, society, economy and the environment.

However, less attention has been paid to the potential health consequences of self-driving cars.

Researchers at the University of Texas A & M have developed a conceptual model to systematically identify these health effects. They identified 32 transport-related risk factors that affect health and concluded that 17 could have a negative impact on public health and 8 could have a positive impact. There were seven areas of uncertain impact that needed further investigation.

Researchers recently published the December issue Sustainable cities and societies..

“Studies on the acceptability of the effects of self-driving cars have shown a lack of awareness of the potential health effects of AV and a low awareness of the importance of the health benefits of AV. “Soheil Sohrabi, a PhD student in the Faculty of Zachry, said. Graduate Researcher in Citizens and Environmental Engineering and Texas A & M Transport Institute (TTI). “On the other hand, the implementation of AV has some unintended consequences that need to be investigated before it goes out on the road.”

Sohrabi, along with his faculty professor, Dr. Dominque Lord of AP Wiley Faculty Fellow, and Dr. Haneen Khreis of TTI, have developed a conceptual model for systematically identifying pathways in which AV can affect public health. created. The proposed model summarizes potential changes in transport after AV implementation into seven points of impact. Land use and construction environment; Traffic flow; Transportation mode selection; Transportation fairness; Work related to transportation and traffic safety. Changes in transportation result from potential health consequences.

Optimistically, AV is expected to prevent 94% of road accidents by eliminating driver mistakes, but by manipulating AV, objects (pedestrians, bicycles, bicycles, vehicles, obstacles, etc.) There are new safety issues such as the possibility of sensor malfunction when detecting. ), Data misunderstanding and inadequate response. This jeopardizes the reliability of AV and can have serious safety consequences in an automated environment.

Another possible safety consideration is that users behave more dangerously because they are overly dependent on AV. For example, they neglect to use seat belts due to increased false safety.

AV has the potential to shift people from public transport and active transport such as walking and biking to private cars in urban areas. This can lead to increased air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and the loss of public transport operation. Transportation or freight transportation industry.

This model allows researchers in the fields of transportation engineering and urban planning, automakers, the health sector, and policy makers to identify possible routes by which AV can affect public health, and to investigate and quantify its impact. Helps develop policies for mitigation. ..

“Given the very fast-paced studies related to AV, this work can have a negative and positive impact on people’s general health before AV is fully deployed. It provides very good preliminary guidelines for, “said the Lord. “Therefore, engineers, planners, and policy makers can already consider measures and policies that can mitigate adverse health effects.”

“This study can encourage the public health sector to participate in discussions about AV and help support policies that address potential adverse effects,” Sohrabi said. “It also facilitates acceptance of AV regulations, motivates us to use this new technology, and raises public awareness of the health effects of AV, which can ultimately bring greater benefits.”

In the future, Sohrabi said further research is needed to more accurately clarify the impact of AV on public health. This study focuses primarily on urban areas and does not consider the impact of AV in rural areas.

“The debate about the health effects of AV is new and limited,” he said. “Next, we will work on quantifying the health effects of AV.”

Story source:

material Provided by Texas A & M University.. Original written by Alison Chapman. Note: The content can be edited in style and length.

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