Thursday, June 8, 2017

Self Driving Cars? Meh

In my retirement years, I have a part time job driving cars for a well known rental car company.  The company buys cars in bulk, and at close to the manufacturers cost to build them, then the rent them for several months to a year, and sell them to dealers, auto auctions, and even retail.  I drive cars to their final destination before the name on the title changes hands.

One of the things we have talked about among ourselves is the prospect of self driving cars.  Some people feel these will be the greatest devices since the invention of the automobile.  Others look at the many ways that cars have accidents, and wonder if a computer can actually handle each of those things efficiently. Today at the American Thinker, Stephen Bryen has an aritcle entitled Problems and Pitfalls of Self Driving Cars. One of the most telling statistics is this:
One argument for them is that a self-driving car means less wear and tear on drivers, especially emotional wear and tear. Will there be less road rage, anxiety attacks and exhaustion in a car that drives itself? The answer (to a degree) is a qualified "yes" if you, the driver, trust Emil, the self-driving software that is running your car trip. Is Emil up to snuff? Does Emil understand the threats popping up "out there" in the real world? Is Emil reliable? (I decided to call my future self-driving software Emil. You can substitute your favorite name for Emil.) Anyway, opinion polls show that people are afraid of self-driving cars.
The question being asked, of course is, "Why do we need self driving cars?" The answer appears to be that some people want them, but in order to have them, we have to ALL have them. If only some have them, the supposed advantages disappear. In my job, I meet a lot of people who are "car guys." People for whom a car is not just a vehicle to get you from point A to point B, but rather something almost magical. Many of these guys will pay extra for standard transmission. I realize these guys represent a minority, but does being in the minority mean you just have to shut up and take it? In any case, go read the article, and make up your mind for yourself.

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