On Sunday, auto technology company Delphi launched its self-driving car on a cross-country trip from the Golden Gate Bridge to midtown Manhattan. The trip will last 8 days and will culminate with the car’s presentation at the New York Auto Show.
The car, even though it is driving itself, is has carrying several passengers, including someone behind the driver’s seat at all times in order to comply with state laws. The passengers rotate in and out of the driver’s seat during the 8 hours spent on the road every day, while an engineer monitors the car’s data. The person in the driver seat is there to take over if necessary to avoid collisions, but the car is loaded with software and sensors in order to let it make “human-like decisions such as exiting and entering highway traffic, navigating city streets, or parking.”
Self-driving cars were always seen as a thing of the future, but apparently that future is much closer than we imagined. It’s possible that a self-driving car can eliminate problems like DWI or certain traffic accidents, as well as reduce the amount of traffic in cities and interstates that is caused by driver error. But there are always risks that come with automation – if there is an equipment malfunction, the person in the driver’s seat must be aware enough to take control of the car to avoid a serious situation.
What are your thoughts on the self-driving car? Is it a dream come true? Or are there unforeseen circumstances of putting too much responsibility on technology, especially when it comes to something as serious as driving?