Saturday, September 29, 2012

Come on, baby, (don't) drive my car

Just this week the California legislature passed a bill that will allow driverless cars on the state's roadways by 2015. Proponents claim the new cars, equipped with sensors out the wazoo, will be safer than the ones driven by humans.

But, assuming the DMV drafts rules regulating driverless cars by 2015, as the bill callls for, the concept raises some interesting questions. For instance, could the operator of a driverless car be charged with driving while intoxicated? Will the presence of driverless cars cause the state to redefine what it means to operate a car? Might the existence of driverless cars actually encourage folks to go out and drink too much knowing that they can just sit in the car, push start and kick back until they reach their driveway?

And, since I feel the need to burst a bubble or two along the way, just how much trust would you be willing to place in the technology operating the car? Computers and smart phones crash at the most inopportune times. DVRs go on the fritz. The microwave decides not to work anymore. Are you willing to sit in that seat and watch the world go by while giving up all control of the car?

And who ends up being liable in the event of an accident? Is it the person sitting behind the wheel? Is it the manufacturer of the car? Is it the manufacturer of the sensors?

In the meantime, enjoy a little Gary Numan...

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