Monday, August 17, 2015

But I Like To Drive

With the exception of stop and go traffic jams, I like to drive.  A rite of passage enjoyed by every teenager as they first get their learners permit and then their drivers license.  And while there are risks and dangers, operating a car can be a very freeing experience.  Over the years, there have been many advancements in driving including better materials, air bags, more advanced braking systems all to save lives.  And there are stupid drivers who still text and drive, can't stay in their lane, or generally make bad driving decisions. 

Lately, there have been a number of efforts to take drivers out of the car.  Google has been working on such a system and Tesla is developing one too.  Now comes word that Apple may be another entrant in the self-driving car.  So is there a demand for such a vehicle?  Perhaps.  A late night with too much to drink, turn on the auto pilot and let the car get you home.  Your children need to be picked up at a friend's house.  Send the car to the address to retrieve them and bring them home.  Its late at night and you risk falling asleep at the wheel; turn on the auto pilot and let the car take over.

Some day this could all be a reality.  It could also be a potential nightmare for auto insurance companies. Was someone driving at the time of the accident, does auto-pilot make insurance costs go down?  Can we trust that an auto pilot car can't be hacked and that someone could potentially cause our car to make a deadly turn?  The evolution of self driving car may take decades to truly achieve or it may be a fairy tale.  For cars driven by computers with logical decisions to compute speed, turning radius, road conditions, etc. to exist on streets along side irrational human drivers that make illogical decisions may not work.  Accidents will still occur.  Safety must still be the number one focus to assure that any accident allows the passengers inside to survive with minimal injury. 

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