Working in the marketing department of MicksGarage naturally involves reading about the latest developments in the motor industry. In recent times there has been an increase in the number of articles relating to news about self-driving cars. You may think that it’s inevitable that all cars will be self-driving in the future especially with companies like Google involved, but it's far too dangerous. In fact, for it to work, these cars would need a heart.
First, let’s look at the traffic implications, self-driving cars may actually lead to more traffic. As driving becomes easier and more convenient, people tend to live further away from work and cities. Take motorways for example, they made longer commutes to work far more bearable. It opened up the countryside for people looking for the dream house in the countryside and consequently caused more traffic especially in what used to be quiet countryside villages.
Why would a car need a heart? The technology in these cars is never going to be perfect and it needs to be. There is no way to fully encode a piece of software to think or function like a human brain. Can software be programmed to make moral decisions in the event of an imminent crash? Could it make the decision to swerve to avoid hitting a child and hit something else? Who knows what a computer would do in a situation like that. If you have watched the movie i, Robot then you will remember Will Smith (Detective Del Spooner) pointing to his heart and saying “nothing here, just lights and clockwork” after one of the NS-5 robots rescued him instead of an 11 year old girl after a car accident.
|The Self-Driving Car that Features in the i,Robot Movie
What about a compromise between self-driving cars where a human could get involved and override the car if needs be? Ok, but would a human be vigilant enough in a situation like this to react in time? It’s doubtful, considering the amount of drivers who still fall asleep at the wheel. I think the companies who are building these robotic cars should start working closely with some lawyers. Driving is probably one of the most dangerous things we do every day, I would rather see more developments in making cars safer than giving them a brain so to speak.
Words by Niall