Since I was a kid I have always dreamed of replicators, teleporters and self-driving cars – blame Star Trek. I would never have thought that one of these would be invented during my lifetime. I guess I was wrong because for many years some big-name companies have been working on making this a reality. Companies like Google, Mercedes-Benz, NVidia and many more are getting closer to having one of these self-driving cars on the road in the next 5 to 10 years. The first time I heard this was going to be a reality I was like, ‘This is awesome! Now I can send my 8 year old to the grocery store while I hang at home playing my PS4!”. Unfortunately, this is still going to be against the law but hey, I can still dream. The question is, with this technology coming in our lifetime how many have stopped to think, ‘Will it be safe?’
I’m all for innovation but being a tech I’m also cautious about new technology. So I have some questions:
- What fail-safes and overrides will be in place?
- Will there be encryption that prohibits hackers from taking over the vehicle?
- Will actual drivers be required, regardless of their driving experience or skills, and how will testing for a driver’s license proceed?
- Will the ‘auto’ control the speed or just steer?
- If speed is controlled, what if there is an adjusted speed zone, such as when there is an accident or poor driving conditions?
- If there is an accident, what will insurance cover and could the car’s manufacturer be held liable for damages?
- Will uploads be available for when road rules change?
As you can see, I don’t believe that all possible repercussions have been considered, and I absolutely cringe at the thought of some punk 16-year-old driving around not possessing any of the requisite skills and having to deal with them as a defensive driver in another lane. So, Mr. Google, Mr. Mercedes-Benz, Mr. NVidia, have your think tanks answered these questions and are you prepared for the potential consequences of this new technology?
What do you think?