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Ginger Goodin — Autonomous Vehicles

Posted by on Tuesday, January 8th, 2019 in Blog

Reported by Phil Thoden

President Julie called the first meeting in 2019 of the Rotary Club of Austin (RCA) to order, Past President Pete Meeker led the pledges, Todd Coleman gave our invocation of the day, and Mary Reynolds led us in saying the Four Way Test. Ray Kang greeted each member and guest as they arrived, and Carl Noble introduced our many guests and visitors.

President Julie introduced new member Tarby Bryant, sponsored by Past President Ron Mullen and Andy Swanson. Welcome, Tarby! Adrian Moore then provided the Membership Minute and highlighted his long career in criminal and juvenile justice that brought him from New Mexico to Austin where he started the Council on At-Risk Youth (CARY) in 1999. He joined the RCA 14 years after speaking to the Club, and he says Jack Mayo’s thank you note after the meeting greatly impressed him and was a significant factor in his decision to join us.

Leah O’Neill provided a Global Awareness Update and informed us that our clean water grant for Panama has been approved by the District and will be considered by Rotary International soon. Great news!

Mary Reynolds reminded us about Pecan Springs Elementary School’s Career Day coming up on February 26. This is an important opportunity to share with students a little bit about your career in the hopes they will have a broader understanding of work opportunities available for them to pursue later in life. Let Mary know if you can help!

Jaime Phillips announced the next wine tasting social event featuring South American wines will take place on Friday, January 18 at her home in NW Austin. The official start time is 6:30pm but don’t worry if you’re stuck in traffic along the way because there is no official “end” time to the evening! RSVP to

Tillery Castillo shared details for the upcoming Membership Soiree scheduled for the evening of Thursday, February 7. You must bring a prospective member to attend this event at the always delightful Headliner’s Club in downtown Austin.

President Elect Nominee Richard Payton led the Thank Goodness Basket and thanked those who have volunteered for Camp Enterprise coming up later this month. Counselor volunteers are still needed, if you’re interested! Mark Kapner then expressed thanks for his wife’s successful recovery from a major operation.

President Julie then made a few announcements:

  • Remember to sign up for the weekly meetings on  Facebook and
  • The monthly breakfast cluster at Magnolia Café takes place tomorrow
  • The Executive Committee meets after the Tuesday, January 15th meeting
  • Thanks to Tillery for organizing the wonderful holiday party in December at Chez Zee!
  • Thanks also to Todd Coleman and Dean Murray for organizing the special holiday party at the Helping Hand Home for Children!
  • Thanks to the RCA reporters for the weekly meeting recaps!
  • Last, the parking situation is very frustrating, yes, but she and the RCA leadership continue to seek a solution that will be beneficial to all concerned.

After several minutes of fellowship time, Edis Oliver introduced our speaker, Ginger Goodin, who serves as an expert on autonomous vehicles at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) in College Station. With over 30 years of experience in transportation engineering, she brings a comprehensive understanding of state and local transportation planning and operations to this public policy issue. Her current efforts at the TTI center on developing a transportation-focused innovation hub at Texas A&M in collaboration with the College of Engineering and Mays Business School.

Ginger first shared with us her “Top Ten Myths” about self-driving vehicles. For example, she noted that these vehicles won’t suddenly take over the roads as some people fear. A more realistic expectation is that perhaps only 25% of all road vehicles will be self-driving by the year 2045. She also noted that these vehicles won’t necessarily be personally-owned but may be used more for ride sharing and delivery purposes.

Ginger also reported that self-driving vehicles have proven susceptible to hacking, and the large amounts of data they produce (30 terabytes of data per car each day!) result in privacy protection issues. After working through each of the popular myths and other relevant information she opened the floor up for several questions from the audience.

Next week’s speaker will be retired Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.

President Julia then recognized newsletter sponsors Rick Ravel (Karavel Shoes) and Michael Abelson (The Abelson Group). Thank you both! She provided a thought for the day from Nelson Mandela and adjourned the meeting.


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