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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Driverless Vehicles

Now, my two cents on driver-less cars (and trucks). 

 Isn’t it cute that a Prius can traverse a road course laid out with those cute traffic cones?  It’s also amusing that driver-less Toyotas, Mercedes and Audis are scurrying about in many American cities.  However, driving America’s highways and rural roads is a little different that tooling through some traffic cones and streetlights of urban areas.  Yes, yes, I know technology has taken into account all the possible ways this system can fail.  Well, almost.

I can’t wait for the first rock slide and the blocked vehicles are rerouted around the debris on a hastily plowed dirt road, or the driver-less semi that has to be backed up a quarter mile to an alternate dirt bypass road.  How do you say, “back that piece of shit out of here”, to a driver-less truck?  What about snow or icy conditions?  I can just see a driver-less cattle truck pulling up a grade and spinning out on the ice, with nowhere to go.

And dare I mention the car or truck that haplessly drives over a giant pothole, filled with water or snow, at 60 miles an hour.  That’s gonna leave a mark and a nice bill for a new tire and rim. 
In fact, I can go on and on about the various road hazards and safety issues facing driver-less vehicles that the smartest technicians haven’t dreamt about.  And how about California’s new law that requires vehicles to move to the left, when Highway Patrol or CalTrans is sitting on the road’s shoulder, taking care of business.  Bet the CHP officer won’t write them up when they take the door off the cruiser by a driver-less car. 

Speaking of liability, who is gonna insure all these driver-less cars and trucks?  Who is gonna do the payoff on the first major fatal accident caused by a driver-less vehicle.  Or how about when a driver-less truck hits the first bus load of Nuns, causing a fireball of death?  Who’s at fault?  The guy running the computer in L.A. or the brain dead engineer who didn’t see it coming?

It sort of reminds me of the flying car.  I know you can build it, but where do you fly it to and where do you park it, when you aren’t flying it.  And tell me again, who are your neighbors going to be, when you lift off at 5a.m.?  How high, or low, will you fly it?  And how do you register it?  Do you need a pilot’s license or a driver’s license?  It’s kind of like Liberals and Conservatives.  The cities are full of Liberals, but the flying car will be relegated to the rural areas, where a Conservative won’t have anything to do with it.  Sort of defeats the purpose doesn’t it?

Many of my friends think the driver-less car is the thing of the future.  I say, it is a future of the wet dream.  

 Like my dad used to say, “Think about it for one minute, before you do it”.  I say, it doesn’t take a minute. 

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