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Total Dependence on Self-Driving Cars Is an Accident Waiting to Happen

Total Dependence on Self-Driving Cars Is an Accident Waiting to Happen

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Monday, 21 December 2015 08:00 PM Current | Bio | Archive


Well, this is awkward.

According to an Automotive News article, autonomous cars, which are supposed to reduce accidents, seem to be in a lot of, um, accidents. Oops. However, it isn’t like the cars are becoming self aware and trying to crash.  Far from it.  Human drivers keep hitting them.

How? Well for starters the self-drivers obey traffic laws. All of them. For instance, there is no such thing as merging with the flow of traffic; there is only the speed limit. Have you ever merged on to a highway from the on ramp and someone in the slow lane is driving the posted speed limit but it is too slow for safe merging and traffic?  Yeah.  It’s like that.

The article provides a few other scenarios, too.  And it isn’t like the accidents are horrific or even serious, just low speed fender benders. And of course it’s our fault.  It couldn’t possibly be the programming’s fault because computers are perfect.  Just like their human programmers...wait, never mind. 

Yeah.  While it’s nice that we want to eliminate the human factor from driving to reduce accidents, let’s remember that fallible humans are programming the cars, so a perfect system?  Not likely. At least not soon, which is what really bothers me about this whole self-drive thing.

In our mad dash to say, “we did it; we’ve replaced ourselves with machines,” are the programmers putting out the best software and equipment? Why wouldn’t you work out a lot of the ethical questions (ethical big picture but also small picture like when you speed up and bend the law) before putting the self-drive cars on the street? I mean, technology always works, just like Google Glass (uh huh).

This is a serious concern for me. Autonomous driving vehicles can’t or at least shouldn’t have alpha and beta versions that are upgraded. This isn’t a smart phone or something where a patch fix will help my battery life or keep an app from crashing. If software is faulty and needs patch fixes or system upgrades, property and life could be at stake.  I don’t mean to sound alarmist.  This isn’t a sky is falling moment.  I just think we need to really ask hard questions about this. And I say we, not just the programmer, because we are the ones who will be affected most.

Between ethical issues and speed and control issues, I just don’t know if we are ready for this. Maybe I am just being stubborn and resistant to change because I love to drive. 

But what do you think?

Post your comments at http://www.laurenfix.com/car-coach-report/ or reply on Twitter @LaurenFix


My Final Thought:

Are you waiting for the new Acura NSX to arrive in dealers?  Prices were just announced!

The new NSX will start at $156K. So much for an attainable sports car, right?

I’m not sure this is a collectable option while there are other super cars to consider in that price range that will hold their value!

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LaurenFix
According to this Automotive News article, autonomous cars, which are supposed to reduce accidents, seem to be in a lot of, um, accidents. Oops. However, it isn’t like the cars are becoming self aware and trying to crash. Far from it. Human drivers keep hitting them.
car, talk, autos, economy
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2015-00-21
Monday, 21 December 2015 08:00 PM
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