’A fascinating hybrid. Part freewheeling history of the rise of the modern autonomous vehicle, part intimate memoir from an insider who was on the front lines for much of that history, Autonomy will more than bring readers up to speed on one of today’s most closely watched technologies’ Brian Merchant, author of The One Device
From the ultimate insider – a former General Motors executive and current advisor to the Google Self-Driving Car project – comes the definitive story of the race between Google, Tesla and Uber to create the driverless car.
We stand on the brink of a technological revolution. In the near future, most of us will not own automobiles, but will travel instead in driverless electric vehicles summoned at the touch of an app. We will be liberated from driving, so that the time we spend in cars can be put to more productive use. We will prevent more than 90 percent of car crashes, provide freedom of mobility to the elderly and disabled and decrease our dependence on fossil fuels.
Autonomy tells the story of the maverick engineers and computer experts who triggered the revolution. Lawrence Burns – long-time adviser to the Google self-driving car project (now Waymo) and former corporate vice president of research, development and planning at General Motors – provides the perfectly timed history of how we arrived at this point, in a character-driven and vivid account of the unlikely thinkers who accomplished what billion-dollar automakers never dared.
Beginning at a 2004 off-road robot race across the Mojave Desert with a million-dollar purse and continuing up to the current stampede to develop driverless technology, Autonomy is a page-turning chronicle of the past, a diagnosis of the present and a prediction of the future – the ultimate guide to understanding the driverless car and to navigating the revolution it has sparked.
About the author
Lawrence Burns served as corporate vice president of research, development and planning at General Motors, where he oversaw GM’s advanced technology and innovation programs as well as corporate strategy. He was also a professor of engineering practice at the University of Michigan and led the Program for Sustainable Mobility at Columbia University. He has served as an adviser to the Google self-driving car project (now Waymo) since 2011 and is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. He lives in Franklin, Michigan.
- ‘If you want a glimpse of how the future is being engineered today, there is no better book’ Jeffrey Sachs, author of The End of Poverty
- ‘An entertaining and accessible account of the biggest disruption in the history of the auto industry, and indeed the entire transportation industry’ Rick Wagoner, Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, General Motors
- ‘An insider’s view into the thrilling who-will-win-it race to invent and control driverless cars – and the radically altered future that will follow in their wake’ Robin Chase, Cofounder, Zipcar, and author of Peers Inc
- ‘A rich and entertaining insider’s account . . . required reading for anyone interested in the future of mobility’ Roger Martin, coauthor of Playing to Win
- ‘Tells the remarkable story of innovators who are changing transportation as we know it’ Clayton M. Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma
- ‘Takes us inside the auto industry as it is today – and what may be a very different industry tomorrow’ Daniel Yergin, author of The Prize and The Quest
- ‘Essential reading’ The Times