More on Driverless Car Craziness

Back in August, we gave you our take on the pros and cons of driverless cars. Among other smart things we said: “The big issue for a lot of people is losing control. It’s a bit like the drunk who won’t give up the keys to his car.”

The U.S. seems to be in the grip of a widespread fear of losing control—over everything from bladders to jobs. The individual has always been sovereign in this country, and who of our readers would give over the power and command of driving a car? Is technology taking over every aspect of our free choice?

Still, autonomous cars (so-called) are probably inevitable, at least in some situations. Many futurists are already happily jumping on board. Popular Science loves this stuff and recently came up with a story about cars dropping off their drivers, then going to search for parking spaces on their own.

Just thinking about the wild scenarios that could result, one of the the story’s commenters (D13) came up with the following: Continue reading >>>

Driverless Cars: Encouraging Drinking and Driving?

Google driverless car

Today we learn that a driverless car in China drove 175 miles on a packed expressway without GPS, depending instead on video cameras and radar sensors. Nevada recently passed legislation to legalize self-driving cars—after standards for performance, licensing, etc. are set.

Some car blogs have had a lot of fun reporting that Google’s driverless Prius (above) had its first crash. The company stated that a human driver was at the controls, but this raised the issue of who is at fault when an “autonomous vehicle” crashes. Jalopnik did raise the issue of fault and legal responsibility, and it’s a big one.

They also said :

The biggest battle in auto safety today involves keeping drivers focused on driving. Google’s self-driving car seems like the ultimate distracted driving machine.

When and however they come, driverless cars will give us the benefits of fewer accidents and deaths, less gasoline use and more free time for passengers to play video games, watch mindless movies or get drunk in the car.

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