The NMA Foundation presents The Car of the Future weekly feature:
I am becoming a bit alarmed by how fast all these automakers, tech companies and government regulators are racing towards driverless. One of the reasons has to do with the fact that current cars seem to have so many recalls for various moving parts. Here is an example of what I have tracked in just the past week with regards to recalls or other auto safety issues.
If automakers can’t design, engineer and manufacture cars in the present without recalling our cars for large and small reasons, how can the normal man or woman trust a car that may not even have a steering wheel and one that we probably can’t even afford to own?
Does carriding then just become like public transportation and we just have to accept the condition the car is in when we ride? Who will protect us in the marketplace if all anyone can talk about are the companies that create these products?
The feds seem to be in cahoots with automakers and tech. Who will stick up for us—the supposedly inevitable driverless car consumer?
I am not a simpleton by any means but if cars are being recalled by the millions just for moving parts, what’s going to happen when artificial intelligence (AI) comes on board with LIDAR eyes and communications capability that involve not just vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) but vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) two-way conversations?
The more complex these driverless vehicles become, the more need perhaps to recall. I do not see the recall problem going away since it seems to be accelerating at a race horse pace.
Another issue that has been bothering me since the driverless ridesharing train starting rolling has been encapsulated in a recent Bloomberg article Self-Driving Taxis have a vomit problem.
Indeed they do. You know what I am talking about. This scenario seems so real to me—in 20 years perhaps you no longer own a car but belong to a rideshare service and every time you get in the car, it’s a mess because the car is run 24/7/365.
Car rental companies who have experience in fleet management are now becoming partners with driverless car manufacturer hopefuls and indeed they might be able to figure out how to keep these robotaxis clean. But if you are like me, you will always get the short end of the stick and be the one to ride in that driverless car right before the car goes in for its daily maintenance stop.
Most media accounts wax and wane about how lucrative the car of the future will be for automakers, carshare services, marketers, rental companies, rideshare services, and tech companies. But what about you and I? We count. We certainly will have to pay for the privilege of riding driverless.
Just like with my current vehicle, if I am paying for it, I want to make sure that I am paying for something that is up to code and has no vomit smell.
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