What To Expect When You’re Expecting Robots by Laura Major ($22.49 for hardcover)
The easiest way to start to understand autonomous vehicles is to think of them as robots, and this approachable, easy-to-read book by Laura Major (CTO of PAVE member Motional) is the perfect way to broach the subject. Everyone from non-technical adults to precocious STEM-loving kids will learn important insights about robots and automation from “What To Expect,” making it a must-read title for anyone who wants to understand our increasingly-automated world.
Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines and Ancient Dreams of Technology by Adrienne Mayor ($18.85, for hardcover)
AVs aren’t only interesting to technical types and STEM-heads, and this book is an enchanting exploration of our pre-scientific conception of, and fascination with, robots, automation, and even AVs. Understanding how our ancestors imagined the technologies we are just beginning to unlock can cast light on the ways we understand and think about these technologies today, and Adrienne Mayor’s Gods and Robots is a great way to begin this journey.
The New Breed: What Our History with Animals Reveals about Our Future with Robots by Kate Darling ($18.39, for hardcover)
Scientists and engineers may be the ones bringing driving automation technology into reality, but how we adopt, use, and regulate this new technology is a challenge for all of society. To help cast light on the challenges of adapting society to robots and automation, MIT’s Kate Darling teases out important lessons about everything from legal liability to psychology from our long history with animals, which show that our sometimes-intimidating science fiction future may not be as entirely unfamiliar as it can seem.
Kickstarter book: The Complete Guide to Autonomous Vehicles for Kids by Michael Milford ($50 AUD, about $37 in USD for hardcover)
Teaching kids about complex technologies like driving automation is really hard, which is why there haven’t been many books on the subject aimed directly at kids. That’s starting to change, as Michael Milford of Queensland University of Technology has a new book project on Kickstarter that purports to be the “complete guide” to AVs for kids ages 13 and up (parental supervision recommended for younger ages). Kickstarters are never risk-free but Milford has delivered on kids’ guides to AI and other tough topics, so give the page a look.
Robot Take The Wheel: The Road to Autonomous Cars and the Lost Art of Driving ($17.83 for hardcover)
Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky is one of the treasures of the automotive internet, following his boundless curiosity and enthusiasm from obscure old cars one moment to detailed explainers of complex driving automation safety issues the next. Robot Take The Wheel has been out for a couple years now, but it’s still one of the most approachable books on the topic for younger AV enthusiasts or anyone coming to the topic from an automotive perspective. Rather than getting bogged down in technical detail, Torchinsky’s fun, familiar style strips AVs of their nerds-only exclusivity and introduces important insights in ways everyone can understand and enjoy.
Driven: The Race To Create The Autonomous Car ($14.79, for hardcover)
The high drama of the emerging AV sector provides Alex Davies with the fodder for his first book, which traces the birth of an industry from the DARPA Challenges to recent developments. Profiling the personalities, companies, collaborations, and conflicts that shaped the modern AV landscape, Davies’ book joins the small but growing canon of AV-sector histories.