The NMA Foundation presents the Car of the Future weekly feature:
What if no one wants a driverless car?
Do you want a driverless car? Since I have been writing about the car of the future, I have wrestled with this question. I like to drive and enjoy the feel of the wheel and even the tedium and solitude of the commute. There is a communal bond of trust with other motorists, each controlling their own destiny by driving from A to B. Driving a car is a human experience like no other.
I’m not a control freak by any means but I bristle when I read that the driverless car is inevitable—a foregone conclusion. Is it just me or does anyone else feel like that the driverless car is being crammed down our throats at a break-neck pace by over-zealous techies who think that the driverless car is really cool, so we must all want one too?
In the 2016 Kelley Blue Book Future Autonomous Vehicle Driver Study, there was indeed a strong disconnect between the auto-tech bubble and real-world people. Kelley Blue Book’s Karl Bauer even said that consumers could be the biggest barrier to autonomy.
As motorists with varying levels of driving skill, we all know innately that in order to drive we need to utilize the different kinds of intelligence in the tapestry of multidimensional space. Perhaps that’s why we don’t feel comfortable trusting a computer to know the same things the same way we know them. Let’s face it–many of us don’t even trust other humans to drive us around for the same reason.
A University of Edinburgh in Scotland professor of automated reasoning Alan Bundy recently wrote that the real AI threat is not human-like machine intelligence gone amok but rather incompetent and bumbling AI. Bundy says that AI usually has a very specific narrow intelligence (like a computer that can beat the world champion in GO or chess) not a general intelligence that is needed to do something as complex as driving a car on any road in any type of weather.
Driving a car is a complex human experience. Your hands and feet are used to physically manipulate the machine. Your eyes and ears sense what is in front of you and all around you. Your brain processes intuitively how to judge speed and distance to know how fast or slow to go, when to break or when to turn. Reading and remembering skills are important for reading signs on the fly, remembering traffic laws and exhibiting courteous behavior to other users of the road. Driving is a learned skill—one that needs to be practiced, never taken for granted and enjoyed.
Safety experts claim that driverless cars will make everyone safer because it will take the human out of the equation. But it also takes the human out of the equation…
When you disconnect humans from the driving experience, you diminish the overall human experience of personal responsibility and interconnected trust we need of other motorists. Riding as a passenger in a driverless car seems it would make us less connected and certainly not as much fun when we control our own transport destinies.
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If you are interested in learning more about the Car of the Future check out the following NMA resources:
NMA Driving News Feed—Over 50 Car of the Future stories are placed each month in the NMA Driving News—the go-to source for all your driving news information from around the country.
NMA’s Flipboard Magazine called Car of the Future—Over 50 stories are placed each month in this magazine devoted to the Car of the Future. Stories featued include future car politics, industry news and thought pieces.
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