Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; Imagining a World of Self-Driving Cars

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; Imagining a World of Self-Driving Cars

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Scott

Self-driving cars make me uneasy.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, I'm not alone.

Most folks with doubts about self-driving vehicles are baby boomers like me. When I think of a self-driving car, I think of dodge-'em cars at county fairs.

Will we see the end of a number of traditions and the dawn of new ones?

For example, who pays the car insurance? Shouldn't the driver be responsible? Will the bill go directly to the maker of the car?

What about high school driver's education? Who gets the grade?

The student or the car?

When your teenager turns 16, who goes to the highway patrol station to get tested for a driver's license?

The kid or the car?


If a self-driving car is pulled over and the police officer has reason to believe its passengers have been over served at the local pub, who gets arrested?

Will the car accumulate a rap sheet that sends its resale value plummeting? Do Ford's or IBM's insurance premiums go up as the miscreant vehicle racks up a string of speeding, parking and other traffic violations?

Will it have to wear an electronic tire bracelet? Can it lose its right to self-drive and be incarcerated in your garage, forcing you to move your wife's massive pottery kiln onto the driveway, thus causing neighborhood protests, a major HOA brouhaha, liens and foreclosure, divorce, alcoholism and financial and personal ruin?

Is a self-driving car worth all that?

What about malfunctions?

In the classic 1968 Stanley Kubrick film "2001, a Space Odyssey," HAL, the petulant computer-driver of the space craft, goes mad and knocks off the spaceship's passengers one-by-one until the last remaining astronaut, Dave, succeeds in pulling HAL' s plug.

Could this happen in my self-driving vehicle? What if I want to go have a couple of beers and watch a football game with my pals, but my car decides to hang out with its clunker crowd at Jiffy Lube? …

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