Three-point turns, parallel-parking, changing lanes—while driving tests vary based on geographic region, they all cover the basic skills that new drivers need to stay safe. This recent New York Times article argues autonomous cars themselves should complete a similar teaching program so that they meet certain qualifications before hitting the road.
Driver's education programs can fulfill this position and could rebrand themselves to reflect this change. “Driver’s education programs” may simply rename themselves “AutoSafety” or “TechEd” but could also take an unexpected route and call themselves “Cyrus” or “Miro.” These sleek names would not only modernize the perception around the stuffy and soon-to-be-outdated “Driver’s Ed” but showcase a new role for this institution as well. Instead of being responsible for mostly teenage drivers, it could test autonomous vehicles against local and federal regulations, coordinate collaborations between automotive industries and partnering brands—like electronics, mattress, or food and beverage companies—and teach passengers the basic technology behind the vehicle: a new type of education.
While these programs may not be able to replicate the excitement of getting a driver’s license, they would be able to update their roles, expand their areas of expertise, and maintain their position as the go-to industry for all things auto-related.