What happens when the car you’re riding in is also your driver? That question rings loudly and persistently in the ears of Dan Kelly ’24. A dual major in accounting and information systems in Le Moyne's Madden School of Business, Kelly studies the impact of autonomous vehicles (AVs) on both safety and infrastructure as a McDevitt Information Systems Research Fellow. He collaborates with the Chief Information Officer at General Motors Stacy Lynett. It is certainly a fascinating time to be doing this work. AVs are expected to play a critical role in the future of travel, with more than 40 companies, including GM, Samsung, Hyundai and Tesla, developing the necessary technology.
Kelly first learned about various kinds of autonomous systems in the Introduction to Management Information Systems taught by McDevitt Distinguished Chair in Information Systems Martha Grabowski, Ph.D. However, he was especially fascinated by the idea there could exist “a self-driving car capable of bringing you to your destination.” Through his research Kelly discovered that AVs offer numerous additional benefits beyond mere convenience and Jetsons-like novelty. They could reduce and eventually eliminate crashes and the resulting injuries and deaths caused by driver error.
There are of course issues to be resolved before AVs move from being a curiosity to commonplace. Perhaps the chief among them is that it will take time for people to become comfortable and confident in relying on self-driving cars. However, Kelly believes that the establishment of so-called “mixed-use highways” (with some lanes dedicated to AVs and others dedicated to human-driven vehicles) could go a long way toward promoting their acceptance and adoption. He has no doubt that autonomous technology will play a critical role in shaping how people make their way around their communities. But he doesn’t believe it will end there.
“I believe designers will learn from AV technology and use it to create other activities that can be completed without human intervention,” Kelly says. “If more daily activities become automated, our lives will be made easier.”
This story is part of a series on the McDevitt Information Systems Research Program at Le Moyne.