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Self-driving cars will ensure safety and optimize future transportation infrastructure, says Virginia Tech expert

September 6, 2017

As city, state, and federal governments consider legislation to regulate and encourage the deployment of driverless car technology, Myra Blanco, an advanced-vehicle researcher at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), says vehicle automation is quickly becoming a reality and that regulations must be put in place to ensure safe mobility and quality of life.

Quoting Blanco
“Although we still have some time to go before automation will be fully integrated into our infrastructure, we are actively working with industry and government leaders to conduct research using naturalistic data, advanced analytics capabilities, and a variety of testing scenarios to reveal needs, ensure a safe transition, and optimize transportation,” says Blanco.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conducts research to save lives, time, and money and to protect the environment. Blanco says that VTTI is continually advancing transportation through innovation and has impacted public policy on national and international levels.

Blanco says that VTTI researchers are also working to coordinate efforts between the automotive industry and Commonwealth of Virginia to develop the 2015 Governor's Proclamation, which declared Virginia “open for business” for automated-vehicle use and testing.

To accomplish its groundbreaking research, VTTI uses a range of tools that include the Virginia Smart Road, the Virginia Connected Corridors, and data acquisition systems. These capabilities have earned VTTI an exclusive standing in the transportation research field, making it a renowned option for transportation research, analysis, and development.

View video interview with Myra Blanco

About Blanco 
Myra Blanco is the director of the Center for Public Policy, Partnerships, and Outreach and an advanced-vehicle researcher at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Blanco’s areas of expertise include automation, in-vehicle devices, distraction, driver behavior, training, work/rest cycles for truck drivers, fatigue, and active safety systems for light and heavy vehicles. She was the principal investigator of a 2016 project sponsored by Google comparing the Google Self-Driving Car’s crash rate to the national crash rate. To learn more about VTTI’s current research efforts, click here.

Interview 
To secure an interview with Blanco, please contact Shannon Andrea in the media relations office at sandrea@vt.edu or 571-858-3262. 

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