Car of the Future

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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The NMA Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting your interests as a motorist and citizen through the multi-faceted approach of research, education, and litigation.  The Foundation is able to offer this assistance through tax-deductible contributions.

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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.

Pinterest Boards

Follow the National Motorists Association on Pinterest Here OR

Follow individual Boards that have a specialized focus on the Car of the Future:

Car of the Future

Car sharing/Ride sharing Watch

Concept Cars

Connected Cars, Connected Cities

Driverless Cars

Electric Cars (EVs)

Flying Cars

Future of the Motorcycle

Hybrid Cars

Hydrogen Cars

Solar-Powered Cars

If you have an interesting story about the Car of the Future, please free to send us a link to the NMA Email address nma@motorists.org. We thank you for your support!

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One Response to “Car of the Future”

  1. JeffG says:

    There is a tremendous amount of hype about driverless cars but not enough reality. A few points that are rarely discussed.

    1) It is much easier to create system for trains and also long distance tractor-trailer trucks. We need to see them working first. I see long distance trucks having a system where a semi automated system on one tractor-trailer truck links to other nearby trucks so the following trucks become self driving as a convoy with all of the drivers of those trucks still being in the driver’s seat but not actively controlling the truck. I think the technology is probably developed enough to do this today so why haven’t we seen it? Probably because potential users including companies like FedEx and UPS don’t want it.

    2) There is a moral problem with self driving cars that might be unsolvable. When someone steps in front of your car you as the driver evaluate your options. Steer around them if it is safe but what about when it isn’t safe? No one wants their self driving car to decide to drive into traffic or off the side of the road killing them and their passengers to save someone who jumps in front of traffic to commit suicide. What about someone who carelessly walks into traffic pushing a baby stroller?

    3) What about when the self driving car has a software problem and needs to reboot? No one wants to be stranded by a driverless car but what if it is driving a child to school or senile old person?

    I think because of issues raised in the article and ones I have raised that self driving cars are not going to happen soon and may never go into generals use.