AAA recognizes that a significant change is on our horizon: a transformation in the automobile. That’s why we staged a public conversation about the future of transportation in a AAA-sponsored TEDx Salon this past October that was broadcast live online worldwide.
Known around the globe, TED Talks are designed to share ideas worth spreading as a way to change attitudes, lives and, perhaps, the world. Our event, “Who’s in the Driver’s Seat? The Transformation of Transportation,” was intended to enlighten and inspire leadership on the topic of changes in transportation. After all, who better to spark this conversation than AAA?
Back in 1903, the president of Michigan Savings Bank advised Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in the fledgling Ford Motor Company because, as he said, “The horse is here to stay; the automobile is only a novelty—a fad.”
Well, even Henry Ford and his closest advisers couldn’t possibly imagine how the automobile would change society. That so-called fad, as it grew, provided more and more mobility and gave life to our now 115-year-old AAA organization, which serves a collective membership of more than 57 million motorists in the U.S.
Unlike the former Michigan Savings Bank president quoted above, I fully support innovation and the continued advancement of technologies that will lead to safer vehicles and, inevitably, the development, testing and deployment of semi-autonomous and, possibly someday, fully autonomous vehicle (AV) systems. AAA also firmly believes that motorists and all who share the roads have a right to expect that the vehicles they drive and those on the road around them will operate safely.
Take a look at new vehicle models, and you’ll see that change is everywhere. Consider car dashboards. Along with the “big three” warning lights—oil pressure, coolant temperature and battery—we now see indicators such as tire-pressure management lights, advanced brake alerts, and anti-theft and security warnings. And the newest warning lights involve advanced driver-assistance systems that help prevent crashes.
Today’s cars collect a wealth of data about the health of a vehicle, and AAA wants to help drivers make sense of this information. AAA remains committed to educating you on these emerging technologies, which is why we have undertaken rigorous, unbiased testing of some of these technologies.
Just as important, we want to be there to help with your vehicle’s ongoing repair and maintenance needs. If a warning light signals that you need to take your vehicle to an auto repair facility for maintenance or diagnosis and repair, there’s an extensive network of AAA auto repair shops to serve you. You can find your nearest shop at AAA.com/auto-repair.
Prepare for the next driving season with the peace of mind that comes with a well-maintained vehicle, the best roadside assistance anywhere, and the confidence that AAA—which has just about seen it all over the course of 115 years—will be with you on the road ahead.
If you missed the live broadcast of the AAA-sponsored public conversation “Who’s in the Driver’s Seat? The Transformation of Transportation,” you can watch the presentation at TED.com once it is posted starting in December.
Chief Executive Officer
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2017 issue of AAA World.