University of Twente Student Theses


The past, the present and the potential future of autonomous vehicles in the EU and in the USA

Urbán, E. (2021) The past, the present and the potential future of autonomous vehicles in the EU and in the USA.

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Abstract:This thesis discusses the rapidly developing autonomous driving technology by comparing the technology, the legislative environment and consumer attitude in the EU and in the USA. The research focuses on Tesla as it is the company with the most advanced vehicles regarding self-driving functionalities, with often unique development approaches. The thesis answers the following research question: “Which disconnects can be observed in the EU and the USA between legislators, industry, and society regarding the attitude towards the emerging autonomous driving technology and how can these disconnects influence the immediate roll-out of AVs in the studied region as the technology becomes available?” In order to answer the research question, I have identified 8 unique scenarios based on possible disconnects among the studied three actors (regulators, society and technology). I argue that disconnect between any of the three actors will hinder the roll-out of AVs at a different degree. Placing the scenarios into an alignment cube model allowed me to rank the scenarios based on the likelihood to facilitate the quickest possible adoption of the AV technology, once it becomes available. The thesis discussed the most relevant risks and perceived benefits of the technology, the past, the present and predicted future societal acceptance of AVs, the legislative actions, and the different industry actors in the EU and in the USA to conclude that once fully autonomous vehicles will be perfected, they are most likely to hit the road first in the USA. A perfect alignment was observed among all three actors in the USA. In the EU, some degree of disconnect was observed among regulation and technology, and possible disconnects were discovered among regulation and society and technology and society. The thesis aims to contribute to understanding how complex regulating emerging technologies can be by building upon the theories on regulatory disconnect and discussing the possible disconnects not only among regulators and technology but among society and the other two actors as well.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:Public Administration MSc (60020)
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