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Thursday, August 18, 2016

The future of driving?

I remember looking forward to hover boards and time travelling cars in my future. Now we don't have that technology, but we have self-driving cars. Tesla is one of the bigger names that has produced a vehicle that can drive itself by use of cameras, computer software, sensors and radar. I'm wary of such. Mainly because a machine of such might not make last minute decisions which could save a life. And now, there is a story of the first fatal crash involving a self-driving car.
In today's economy and with the clamor to have oil control, gas prices are driving people to find cars that are able to go without gas. Tesla is one company creating such. They took it a step further and sought to make cars that can also drive themselves. For the self-driving cars, reasons to want them vary. They could be safer than human drivers. The car won't fall asleep at the wheel. Everything is scientific. It is believed they could be less prone to errors in calculations. A car won't be drinking while it drives. But are they really safer? This recent accident will be investigated. And I'm sure that there will be regulations and maybe laws made as to what is acceptable. But is this where we want the future to really go? What do you think about a car that can take you places while you take a nap or make a phone call? 

"BMW said the goal of the new collaboration was to develop cars that would eventually allow them to take their eyes off the road." (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/01/tesla-driver-killed-autopilot-self-driving-car-harry-potter) Why is our importance to create technology that takes our focus away from the road? I get that it allows us to. Things happen. Can't tell you how many times my kids have made choking noises in the backseat or that a spider has made its appearance near me and I've just about crashed.

On the flip side, having computer-based programs in cars adds to the dangers. These fancy cars run the risk of being hacked. OnStar-equipped vehicles can be stopped by OnStar with just a phone call from the police department. Or even my van - a 2010 Chrysler Town and Country - glitched and caused my accelerator to stop functioning properly. It is a computer-based function. If something like that can't be trusted, how much less these high tech vehicles?

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