Home James: Would you trust an unmanned vehicle?

You are driving through rush hour traffic, and you look into the cute little orange van next to you, but nobody is driving. The steering wheel is moving itself. The gas pedal is pumping footless. You, the driver, have just become irrelevant. Unneeded. Just an unnecessary side thought on this car’s journey. A passenger.

As October was wrapping up, so was the Italian researchers’ 8,000-mile journey from Italy through China. With lasers and video cameras, the solar powered vans navigated. But what all the news reports don’t reveal up front is that technology has its limits. Like stopping every 8 hours to charge these driverless vans. Like the fender bender they got into when the HUMANS in the car forgot to turn off the system upon stopping. Like having to MAN the vehicles at tollbooths and in very heavy traffic (The Associated Press). So, while we are giving technology some major credit for progress, we have to ask whether humans are ever going to be truly obsolete?

Onlookers are commenting that while they appreciate the forward thinking, they wouldn’t trust their lives to these vehicles avoiding collisions. Since we’re so good at driving given the six million car accidents in the USA every year (Chacha answers).

And let’s not forget the benefits of not driving. Think of all the novels by the side of your bed you’d actually have time to crack open if your car drove you everywhere. Ladies could get up 30 minutes later and do their hair and makeup in the backseat. Not bad. Possible issues: is it a DUI if you drink and don’t drive in your own car? Would texting and driving dissolve as a hot button issue? In ten years, we may very well know.

Would you trust a driverless car?

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  • Deb Peters

    Hell no! I would not trust a dri verless car! I don’t even trust another person. Sitting in the back….to read a novel? seriously…… that sounds like something that would make me sick. I must be in control of my vehicle, whether I bonk into something or not…it is my doing. dpeters

  • annie ritz

    What a though-provoker! It would be fun to brainstorm the ripple-effects of such transportation. Would light rail trains become obsolete? How would hijackers deal with this form of an auto? Would our brains eventually shrink in in the areas that control spatial reasoning and navigation? Interesting article, Ally

  • Alexandra

    Deb–love the word “bonk”. Good point…I wouldn’t trust it either.
    Annie–Great ideas…those would be interesting to explore, and we might have to soon! Maybe the psychologists of the world would create a video game people play while they are riding in the car instead of actually driving it…replacing one with another.