Our Driverless Future

Hod Lipson is coauthor of a new book, Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead.

Sep 14 2016 | By Melanie Farmer

Hod Lipson
—Photos by Timothy Lee Photographers

Hod Lipson, professor of mechanical engineering, is coauthor of a new book, Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead, with technology journalist Melba Kurman.

Published in September by MIT Press, the book explores how recent breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and robotics are bringing driverless cars from sci-fi to reality, particularly via deep learning software that gives cars rapid and accurate visual perception. Autonomous automobiles are expected to hit the world’s streets within the next decade and set off waves of transformative change in industry, public policy, and how humans live, work, and play.

The technology could unleash another “Apollo moment,” the authors write, if government, industry, and consumers can work together to achieve a safer, cleaner, and more convenient alternative to traditional driving.

Lipson, director of Columbia’s Creative Machines Lab, is an expert on self-aware and self-replicating robots, 3D food printing, and bioprinting. He uses primarily biologically inspired approaches to design, build, and maintain increasingly complex robotic systems, aiming ultimately for machines capable of designing and making other machines.

Lipson and Kurman previously penned Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing, released in 2013.