Friday, February 02, 2018

Driverless cars

Rick's printer threw a temper tantrum. It refused to print word documents but would print the test page.

"That is why I won't ride in a driverless car," I said.

He looked at me. 

I went on to explain.

All the things that don't work now with too great a regularity:
  • SFR and Bluewin TV transmissions
  • A switching device on a train track that doesn't switch (UK accident)
  • Glitches in regular computer programs
  • Phones where we can't get a signal
  • Car recalls for all kinds of problems--why should I believe they would take better care of a driverless car.
  • Lying -- such as VW's standards fraud
I am not a Luddite. I love technology that makes my life simpler. But more often it adds to the complications.

Then I think of all the conditions that could bring down the car's system.
  • Hurricanes (more often these days)
  • Power failures (The US electrical grid is in rough shape)
  • Fires 
  • Tornadoes
  • Earthquakes
  • Regular thunderstorms
  • Hacking
  • Human mistake (attack alert in Hawaii?)
  • Updates when going 95 MPH on a highway
It is ingenious how they have made traffic lights signal to the driverless cars. Even if the electrical grid is working well, all it takes is one kid with a stone to put one of those lights out of commission leading to chaos.

Cars do have some great new stuff, such as letting a driver know when something or someone is too close. But the driver should be in control if he's not reading, talking on his phone, or had too much to drink etc., all of which a driverless car would not do. One driver can create a bad accident, but imagine if the driverless system goes berserk for any of the reasons above and all the cars are out of control. Or the system shuts down. Or the software that runs the car pulls a temper tantrum as Rick's printer did.

Nope. No driverless cars for me.

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