Self-driving cars

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

It has recently been reported that California is one step closer to self-driving cars and it would appear that quite a few people like the idea of cars that “drive themselves” but as yourself as to who is in control of that drive. It is NOT you who sits behind the wheel in the car but a control room.

This may sound a great idea, e.g. you tell the car that you want to go to work and press “go” and off it goes, avoiding maybe even traffic jams and other problems, while at the same time you get on with some work during the journey or just with some relaxing and drinking of coffee.

But now I would like to ask you to imagine the scenario of you wanting to get away from a possible lock-down of your area because of an emergency with your loved ones in the car but the control center realizes that and remotely takes control of your car and drives you to somewhere you don't want to go. Now the self-drive car no longer looks that good, does it.

The idea has already been played with to fix all new cars (and who knows as to whether that is not being done already) with an immobilizer that can be controlled by law enforcement and such like.

Who is, therefore, to say that those self-driving cars will not be fitted with an override that can take control of your vehicle even when you have not put the “autopilot” on.

This is just my concern on this issue, I know, and, like with so many other technological “miracle”, I am sure, there are many who will wish for this self-drive car to come along sooner rather than later.

It all sounds great and all the benefits of it that are being touted about such as increased safety, maybe, and all that will make people really believe in it. In the same way as so many people are all for the CCTV cameras that watch our every move and the scatter radar applications in many cities now to scan for people carrying weapons (at least in the UK).

But, you have to decide for yourself. As a non-driver and a cyclist and pedestrian I know that the self-driving car is not something that will affect my privacy. Mind you, here in the UK we have enough to worry about in that department even if one does not drive.

© 2012