Land and Sea and
in the Air and Space
PROCEEDINGS OF A FORUM
Prepared by Steve Olson
NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The subject of this publication is the forum titled Autonomy on Land and Sea and in the Air and Space held during the 2017 annual meeting of the National Academy of Engineering.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions expressed in this publication are those of the forum participants and not necessarily the views of the National Academy of Engineering.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-47849-6
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-47849-9
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25168
For more information about the National Academy of Engineering, visit the NAE home page at www.nae.edu.
Copyright 2018 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
Suggested citation: National Academy of Engineering. 2018. Autonomy on Land and Sea and in the Air and Space: Proceedings of a Forum. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/25168.
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Each year the annual meeting of the National Academy of Engineering highlights an engineering theme that is quickly developing in the world. The theme of the 2017 meeting was autonomy on land and sea and in the air and space, and it made for a compelling two days.
Autonomy is multidisciplinary, multicultural, and global in its development and applications. Autonomous vehicles rely on communications, artificial intelligence, sensors, virtual and enhanced reality, big data, security, and many other technologies. In many cases, autonomous devices have moved from their creators directly to the marketplace. Autonomy is coming fast, with unavoidably disruptive consequences. Without careful thought and deliberation, it could run away with us.
The forum at the meeting featured four speakers—Raj Rajkumar of Carnegie Mellon University; James Bellingham of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Claire Tomlin of the University of California, Berkeley; and MiMi Aung of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory—who are experts in each of the four title domains: land, sea, air, and space. Individually and collectively, they explored the capabilities of new technologies, what can be expected in the years ahead, and some of the difficult issues raised by autonomous vehicles. As in previous years, Ali Velshi of NBC News expertly moderated the panel and audience questions.
In the plenary presentations, Joichi Ito of MIT’s Media Lab and Patrick Lin of California Polytechnic State University looked at societal and ethical issues associated with autonomous vehicles.
Engineering is the empowering discipline of our time. It is creating unprecedented advances for sustainability, health, security, and quality
of life in a rapidly changing technological environment. Autonomy is now an essential feature of that environment. How we as engineers design, implement, and refine autonomous devices as they expand their role in society will be a powerful determinant of how people live in the 21st century and beyond.
C. D. Mote, Jr.
National Academy of Engineering