Monday, February 20, 2012

A robot car? No thank you

I love to drive.

I love to belt myself in behind the wheel, turn the key, hit the accelerator, engage the clutch and rocket off down the road to wherever my future may lead.

That's why I hate the idea of an autonomous car.

I'm not going to get into the whole "can they make it fool-proof?" argument.

Sure, current cars suffer from occasional electromechanical glitches that prevent airbags from deploying, induce acceleration without warning or cause wiring harnesses to overheat, resulting in failures of the lights and brakes. But that's still no reason to believe we won't be able to just sit back and read the paper, watch TV, check our stock quotes or make hot, sweaty jungle love to our sweeties while our robot cars safely guide us down the highway.

Even if we could be assured all the sensors and controls will work as directed 100% of the time, I still don't like the idea.

I learned a lot about myself and life behind the wheel of a car. I learned about responsibility, self control, physics, focus, and human behavior. If all our cars drive themselves, where will we learn those oh so important life lessons?

I understand the need to make driving safer. But if people are too stupid to realize they shouldn't be applying mascara or sending a text message while they're hurtling down the road at 70 miles per hour, maybe they shouldn't be driving.

That doesn't mean this won't happen. If you take a look at the graphic, you'll see it's from a personal-injury law firm. My guess is this is a warning shot across the bow of the auto companies. Lawsuits for not having this technology in place will now be de rigueur every time some moron runs his car into a telephone pole because he was too busy trying to find a song on his iPod.


  1. Harvey, are these lessons really worth learning when the lesson costs us 1.2million lives - and countless millions injured - every single year?

    Come on.

    Matthew Newton
    Driverless Car HQ

  2. Matthew. I appreciate your passion and your desire to save lives. I have grave concerns, however, about the stability of the technology. Call me a luddite, but I am not willing to give up control of my life on the road to a computer. Maybe a generation from know, when dinosaurs like me are off the road, but I've seen too many computers fail in airplanes, trains and cars to trust them completely.