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Self-Driving Cars are Hitting California Roads (for Testing) This September
5/22/14 | The Wire
Behind the Headline
Coming Soon: Car-Key Kids
Spring 2014 | Education Next
California has approved rules allowing the testing of self-driving cars to begin on the state’s roads this fall.
Mike Petrilli wrote about what self-driving cars will mean for school buses, school routines, and parenting in general in “Coming Soon: Car-Key Kids,” in the Spring 2014 issue of Education Next. Among his imaginings:
Schools will need to respond to these big changes, too. It’s inevitable that they will eventually purchase “driverless buses.” (I would assume parents will demand an adult onboard, but that could be a teacher’s aide instead of a “driver.” He or she could even provide instruction on the way to school.) Already the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is preparing to require “connected vehicle” technology on school buses (gadgets that allow vehicles to talk to one another in order to avoid crashes). Eventually, driverless buses will surely be seen as the safer alternative.
But the advent of driverless cars will change school routines as well. Imagine carpool lines without parents. Seventh graders arriving at middle school dances in their own rides. High school seniors spending their weekends at bars. “Car-key kids” instead of “latch-key kids.” (Will schools allow kids’ cars to park themselves nearby, or must they return home until pickup time?)