Melba Kurman

Melba Kurman is an author and technology analyst with years of software industry experience. She and Hod Lipson are coauthors of Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing and Driverless: Autonomous Vehicles and the Road Ahead (MIT Press).

  • Driverless at Last

    Cars, Artificial Intelligence, and You

    Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman

    How driverless cars, guided by cutting-edge artificial intelligence, can improve urban commuting and introduce new opportunities across a range of industries.

    Cars and trucks make the best aspects of modern life possible. Yet in exchange for their convenience, we have paid a steep price in road accidents, toxic air pollution, and nightmarish traffic jams. The good news is that artificial intelligence and robotics technologies have advanced to the point where they can now safely drive a car. In Driverless at Last, roboticist Hod Lipson and analyst Melba Kurman paint a vivid and well-researched picture of the ways in which driverless vehicles will ease the negative side effects of cars and trucks while introducing opportunities across a wide range of industries and pastimes.

    Lipson and Kurman explore the social value of pandemic-proof, one-person commuter “pods”; make a case for the traffic-busting benefit of last-mile, driverless e-commerce delivery wagons; and explain the economic benefits of autonomous long-haul freight trucks. They cover the policy landscape and legal barriers that stand in the way of autonomous vehicles, and provide a lucid, nontechnical explanation of their robotic technology. Lipson and Kurman's practical, well-researched insights into the future impact of emerging technologies, combined with their accessible explanations of the ways these technologies actually function, make Driverless at Last a timely report on the advantages of autonomous vehicles.

    • Hardcover $24.95
  • Driverless


    Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead

    Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman

    When human drivers let intelligent software take the wheel: the beginning of a new era in personal mobility.

    “Smart, wide-ranging, [and] nontechnical.” —Los Angeles Times

    “Anyone who wants to understand what's coming must read this fascinating book.” —Martin Ford , New York Times bestselling author of Rise of the Robots

    In the year 2014, Google fired a shot heard all the way to Detroit. Google's newest driverless car had no steering wheel and no brakes. The message was clear: cars of the future will be born fully autonomous, with no human driver needed. In the coming decade, self-driving cars will hit the streets, rearranging established industries and reshaping cities, giving us new choices in where we live and how we work and play.

    In this book, Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman offer readers insight into the risks and benefits of driverless cars and a lucid and engaging explanation of the enabling technology. Recent advances in software and robotics are toppling long-standing technological barriers that for decades have confined self-driving cars to the realm of fantasy. A new kind of artificial intelligence software called deep learning gives cars rapid and accurate visual perception. Human drivers can relax and take their eyes off the road.

    When human drivers let intelligent software take the wheel, driverless cars will offer billions of people all over the world a safer, cleaner, and more convenient mode of transportation. Although the technology is nearly ready, car companies and policy makers may not be. The authors make a compelling case for why government, industry, and consumers need to work together to make the development of driverless cars our society's next “Apollo moment.”

    • Hardcover $29.95
    • Paperback $19.95