Sunday, 15 May 2016

The Dangers of Driverless Cars

Impressive scare-mongering from the Guardian on the subject of driverless cars, and their ability to be safer than driven cars:
"The vehicles are expected to dramatically reduce accidents and premiums, with some warning they could put the future of the motor insurance industry at risk."
Just ignore the split infinitive. It's not a hanging offence. Really. But I'm impressed that the Guardian, that noble defender of lost causes, does not go so far as to suggest the Government should legislate to ensure a constant stream of injuries and deaths, so as to protect insurance industry jobs. But we've not heard from Jeremy Corbyn yet. He has previously suggested reopening coalmines  - or maybe not - and driving Trident submarines around without warheads, so who knows what he might think.

This is grade A "experts warning" territory. The Express outdid itself with the warning that driverless cars could lead to more people having sex while motoring. Though I reckon their picture should logically feature a steering wheel and some feet, not a pair of hands. 

"Under the current Highway Code, drivers are expected to leave as much room as they would leave for a car when overtaking cyclists.
There are fears driverless cars could be left crawling behind cyclists for miles as they wait for enough space to overtake if the rules are not changed."
Yes, according to the Telegraph the Highway Code might need to be rewritten to allow driverless cars to be as dangerous as driven ones. Keeps me awake at night, that does.

Where does all this needless fear come from? I reckon it's about autonomy. The human reaction to being not fully in control of a situation. The belief that as long as we are behind the steering wheel, and nobody else, everything will be fine. Which leads people to speeding, reckless behaviour, close passes on cyclists, and all the other fun that passes for a day on the roads. It's a delusion, of course. Our autonomy lasts right up to the moment that there's a car crash, or we hit traffic in town, or we blindly follow our SatNavs into a lake.

I'm looking forward to the driverless car world. If we rewrite the laws right, we should be able to be driven home from a night out after a few drinks, safe in the knowledge that we won't crash into bicycles. Our insurance policies will be lower, and everybody will be able to have sex on motorways. (Obviously, with a driverless car, you'd be able to have blinds on the windows. Let's not outrage convention). I wonder why the newspapers are so against it?


  1. Will there be cars programmed as female drivers?

  2. ...and will teenager insurance come down to manageable levels where I won't have to approach the IMF for a loan?


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