The Sputnik of servgoods: Autonomous vehicles

James M. Tien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In an earlier paper (Tien 2015), the author defined the concept of a servgood, which can be thought of as a physical good or product enveloped by a services-oriented layer that makes the good smarter or more adaptable and customizable for a particular use. Adding another layer of physical sensors could then enhance its smartness and intelligence, especially if it were to be connected with each other or with other servgoods through the Internet of Things. Such sensed servgoods are becoming the products of the future. Indeed, autonomous vehicles can be considered the exemplar servgoods of the future; it is about decision informatics and embraces the advanced technologies of sensing (i.e., Big Data), processing (i.e., real-time analytics), reacting (i.e., real-time decision-making), and learning (i.e., deep learning). Since autonomous vehicles constitute a huge quality-of-life disruption, it is also critical to consider its policy impact on privacy and security, regulations and standards, and liability and insurance. Finally, just as the Soviet Union inaugurated the space age on October 4, 1957, with the launch of Sputnik, the first man-made object to orbit the Earth, the U. S. has inaugurated an age of automata or autonomous vehicles that can be considered to be the U. S. Sputnik of servgoods, with the full support of the U. S. government, the U. S. auto industry, the U. S. electronic industry, and the U.S. higher educational enterprise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-162
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Systems Science and Systems Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Big Data
  • Internet of Things
  • Sputnik
  • cloud computing
  • decision informatics
  • deep learning
  • goods
  • insurance
  • liability
  • privacy
  • real-time analytics
  • regulations
  • security
  • sensors
  • servgoods
  • services
  • standards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Information Systems


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