The driverless car and the fall of man

One of the most interesting things in the UK chancellor’s Budget in March was the announcement of an extra £100million of funding for research into driverless cars. Coming on the back of several similar initiatives globally (like Intel’s $100million Connected Car Fund and the well-known Google self-driving car programme), it seems like the driverless car is well on its way to becoming a reality in the 21st century. But what are the implications of driverless cars?

  • Tokenn

    I remember a story about a doctor in the long ago who refused to give up his horse and carriage in exchange for the convenience of an automobile. It seems that whenever he went out on a late evening house call [whatever that was…] he could sleep on the return home because his horse knew the way and could get there without directions.

    For myself, having entered the downhill slope of life, the thought that I might someday be too shaky or absent-minded to drive is somewhat dismaying. However the prospect of a car that could guide itself and take me to the doctor, or shopping or the casino, or shooting range is reassuring.

    • There is a huge upside no question. However the economic disruption should it prove feasible across a range of transport is fearful.

      • FactsWillOut

        All I worry about is if they try to take our freedom to move around away.
        Already it’s illegal to walk or bike across the country without a permit.

        • Xavier

          It’s easy to envision a future where your travel is limited to x miles from your home; RFID technology is being incorporated into every new car and every stoplight so you are being tracked in real time already. Cell phones will be next. Then people.

  • Censored_EG

    I’m sure muzzie terrorists will love a driverless 18 wheeler or SUVs or cars loaded to the hilt with bombs so drive into multiple targets. They’re no doubt frothing at the mouth.

  • terrence

    The car I drive has a built in GPS. A few months ago, I was getting the regular maintenance done; I was talking to the guy who coordinates this work. we BOTH were laughing out loud about these so-called “driverless cars”. The very biggest and most common complaint he hears is about the GPS – they are inconsistent (they give different routes for the same trip); they are often WRONG (mine often is) and will go on wild goose trips and finally get back on track; and some places they just cannot find – this has happened when I was four blocks from the place (It said the closet places was 48 kilometers away). .

    Awhile ago, I had three handheld GPSs and the one in the car. I first got directions from Google maps, then I went the car and got direction from it and the three handheld GPSs. Surprise, surprise – I got FIVE different routes. The longest was 25% LONGER than the shortest.

    I heard that google has mapped the area around its head office down to the square inch. When the rest of the roads are mapped to this level of detail the MIGHT work.

  • Xavier

    Driverless cars are the enticement; there will be limits and taxes and tariffs and regulations and physicals and licensing and permits and ride sharing and dependence and fines and every type of data gathering and privacy invasion possible.

  • Dana Garcia

    When you add the millions of jobs based on driving to all the other occupations made obsolete by automation, you have a future where the economic social contract of jobs performed for money no longer exists for a majority of people. It looks like chaos.