Problems With Driverless Cars.
Smart Cars Are On The Way
I remember when I was a little kid and my grandfather told me that in my lifetime cars would be able to drive themselves. This seemed like a very plausible idea to me at the time, after all I was watching Knight Rider on television. It seemed perfectly normal to watch KITT drive around doing all the thinking for David Hasselhoff. On the show, KITT was always helping get David Haselhoff out of trouble, but I can not help but think that smart cars will not do the same for us.
When I first heard that automakers were developing cars capable of driving themselves I immediately began thinking about all the things that could go wrong with this idea. Maybe I have a negative attitude, but I have been using computers for twenty years and I know the tricks they are capable of. It is bad enough to have your computer suddenly decide to go to a different website all on its own, I certainly do not wish to be heading to work only to have my car decide to head towards Orlando instead. On second thought, perhaps Orlando would be a better destination than work.
Already I can imagine calling my boss and explaining that I am stuck in a cow pasture in Central Florida. "Yeah, ummm, I am trying to reboot my car now", I tell him. A sure sign that it will be a long day.
My Car Has a Virus
You just know that will happen. I am certain that these high-tech cars will be communicating with the internet for various tasks and once that happens it will only be a matter of time before somebody comes up with a car virus. Imagine that, car thiefs will no longer steal cars by prowling shopping centers, they will simply send a virus that commands the car to arrive in their driveway.
We will really have to be extra careful about where we park our cars as well. Do not want to accidentally park beside an infected vehicle while out running errands. One infected car could end up spreading the virus to an entire parking lot full of cars. Next thing you know, somewhere on the Eastside of town a driveway has a hundred cars in it.
I Hate It When My Car Locks Up
We are used to thinking of a locked up car as a good thing, do not want to go into the grocery store and leave the car unlocked. That would be asking for trouble. Now with high-tech cars capable of driving themselves, a car that is locked up will take on an entirely new meaning. I can already imagine being stuck on the side of the road, pushing buttons and turning knobs trying to get the car to respond. I suppose I could hit the horn while simultaneously turning on the radio and windshield wipers, perhaps that will help
I am sure the automotive engineers will include some emergency procedure that we can use if the car does not respond to any of our commands. If all else fails, disconnect the battery and wait for sixty seconds before re-connecting. Then we will see the "car not shutoff properly" message on the dashboard and once the system scan is complete the car will restart and off we go to our destination.
Who Will Pay the Ticket?
Has anybody given thought to this small detail? If I am going down the road in my new, self driving car and a police officer pulls me over for speeding, will Ford be paying the fine? Seems to me that if I am not driving the car then I should not be responsible for any traffic violations that are committed.
When the officer approaches my vehicle and informs me that I was weaving, I will tell him that I had noticed the same thing and that it concerned me as well. I will assure him that as soon as I return home I will run a Norton Anti-Virus scan and hopefully the issue will be resolved.
"Have you been drinking?" the nice police man asks me.
I look him straight in the eye and say "yes I have officer". I then inform him that my car is my designated driver and inquire as to whether he would like my car to drive a straight line.
It is at this point that he notices me fumbling with my cell phone. "Are you texting someone while I am talking to you" he asks. "Who could you possibly need to text while talking to a law enforcement officer?" he inquires.
Since I never lie to members of law enforcement, I tell him that I was sending a text to Ford advising them that I will require the services of their legal team.
GPS Is Sometimes Wrong
Certainly we are all aware of this, as we recall the time we had to employ quick thinking to avoid driving off the missing bridge the GPS was unaware of. With autonomous cars the onboard computer will be operating the vehicle based on the input from a multitude of censors and the GPS unit. An error occurring in any of these critical systems and things go go wrong very quickly. Luckily, sensors and GPS systems have never been known to malfunction.
We Need to be Carefull When it Comes to Cars Making Decisions
We all love new technology, it can be fun playing with the newest gadgets. Still, it is important that we pause and give thought to all the implications this new technology can have on our lives. Are we ready to deal with these issues?
© 2013 by Christopher J. Wood
© 2012 Christopher J Wood