Panel: The Road to a Driverless Future


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On Thursday we leapt into the future and learned from acclaimed futurist Liselotte Lyngso what our communities and infrastructure might look like, once self-driving vehicles were common.  But at a practical level, how will that transition unfold, and what will be key events that trigger each of the steps forward?  Liselotte will be joined on a panel by industry advocates, a motoring journalist, and a representative from an Otago University team who are looking at this very topic.

The panel will discuss the hurdles to be overcome, and the events and advances that will promote the change.  An open mind and audience participation will be encouraged!

Andrew Jackson, Deputy CEO, Ministry of Transport

Andrew Jackson has been the Deputy Chief Executive of the Ministry of Transport since August 2011.  He leads the Specialist Advice and Strategy Group in the Ministry. He was previously Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Development where he was responsible for policy relating to regulation of financial markets, company law, intellectual property and competition law and trade tariff policy. Prior to that he worked for the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir David King on UK science policy and helped lead the UK’s Foresight programme, which used science to help tackle challenging issues such as obesity, drug use and cybercrime. Outside of work, he is a father of four, and enjoys water sports, from kayaking to swimming and scuba diving.

Assoc Prof James Maclaurin, University of Otago

James Maclaurin is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Associate Dean for Research in the Humanities at the University of Otago. He is a principal investigator on the “Artificial Intelligence and Law in New Zealand” project which is funded by the New Zealand Law Foundation’s Information Law and Policy Fund. The first aim of the project is to investigate the way in which AI might affect New Zealand’s justice system. This includes considering issues to do with responsibility, liability and private concerns related to AI. The second aim is to investigate the way in which AI will affect employment law in New Zealand. Connected and autonomous vehicles will be an important case study for the project. James’ co-investigators are Ali Knott who works for Otago’s Department of Computer Science as well as Soul Machines (an AI startup based in Auckland), and Colin Gavaghan from Otago’s Faculty of Law.

Liselotte Lynsgo, Danish Futurist

Liselotte  is Managing Partner of the innovation and futurist company Future Navigator. Prior to that, she was Director at Fahrenheit 212 an ideas company owned by Saatchi. For 8 years she worked as Director of Research at the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies. Since 2002, she has been a member of the Foresight editorial board and she is a founding member of the Global Future Forum.

Liselotte works extensively with scenarios for the future, innovation, technologies and megatrends that have consequences for the way we think, work, feel and behave. She is in great demand as a keynote speaker all over Europe and the US as well as consulting for several global organisations.

Born in Denmark, she has an M.Phil. in Economics and Politics from St. Antony’s  College, Oxford University, UK. Liselotte speaks Scandinavian, English and French.

David Thomson, Motoring Commentator

David Thomson has over 25 years’ experience as an award-winning motoring journalist and commentator, firstly based in the UK, and in recent years in Dunedin. He is currently Editor of Drivesouth – the motoring publication of the Otago Daily Times. This is a decidedly part-time position that contrasts with his main career, in a strategic and future-focused role as Director of Planning and Funding at the University of Otago.

David has a keen professional interest in autonomous motoring technologies. His first exposure to such technologies came a decade ago, behind the wheel (hands-off, of course) of a prototype self-driving Honda at test track in Japan. The production iteration of that prototype emerged some years later as the first car with a meaningful self-driving capability sold in New Zealand. Since then David has evaluated many vehicles that showcase the deployment of such technologies into real-world motoring.

Holding degrees in history and business, David’s interests outside of work and family include fishing, sea kayaking, military history, food and wine, travel and coaching top-tier teams and athletes in sport (soccer and surf lifesaving). He holds, or has held, governance roles in a number of educational, sporting and philanthropic organisations.

Ian Telfer, Radio NZ (Facilitator)

Ian is a senior Otago-Southland reporter for RNZ News (Radio New Zealand). As well as covering thousands of Southern stories, Ian has reported on many significant national stories including the Pike River mine explosion and Royal Commission, Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes, and Victoria’s Black Saturday bush fires. In the past 9 years, Ian has presented the Summer Report news programme, been the environment and forestry reporter and produced almost a dozen documentaries.

Hailing from Adelaide, South Australia, Ian studies physics at university and moved through a varied career including gardening, church volunteering in Tahiti and university administration. He has lived in Dunedin for 15 years, but does not yet have a tartan!