Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Why Could Driverless Cars Fizzle Out?

I have been collecting materials to compose a "contrarian article" to the hype about driverless vehicles.  I should be clear that I support driverless technologies but I am skeptical of fully autonomous, driverless vehicles.

I believe that many more components to automate driving will be added to the existing adaptive cruise control available to several mid-range and most luxury vehicles. These technologies improve both comfort and safety and they are quite readily accepted by the vehicle owners and users. For example the loaded version of the new Toyota Prius will have automated lane keeping and car following. (See Toyota's extensive list of automated driver support systems.)

Fully automated pods, cars, trucks and buses is another story, as explained in Why Driverless Cars Will Screech to a Halt.

The article may be off putting with remarks like .... "It’s clear that Uber and some of the other companies are professional carnival barkers engaged in an amazingly brash self-driving con."

However, it is spot on for huge issues like this... "But here is where we have to stop for a moment and think a bit more deeply about the unfolding plot of this science-fiction movie. Approximately 1.6 million Americans are truck drivers, and their jobs are on the hockey-mask-wearing villain’s chopping block. Is it really all that “efficient” to unleash a technology that will wipe out all these jobs? Isn’t it also efficient for people to have gainful employment?"

Remember, when it comes to politics... "it's the economy, stupid"... is the bottom line.  Killing off millions of bus, truck and taxi driver jobs is a vastly unattractive proposition.