Self-driving cars were always on the cards for what we consider the technological future we deserve. Along with hover-boards and teleportation (still working on this), jumping into a car that doesn’t require a driver was an inevitability, However, now that the future has arrived, we’re not sure we’re ready for it…
Uber is the first to jump on this development and has plans to launch a fleet of driverless cars in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania city. Isn’t it funny that this announcement comes around the same time as Uber driver wage protests are reaching boiling point? Suspicious, no?
There are mixed reactions to this announcement from Uber. Some are excited by the prospect of never having an awkward conversation with an overly-keen Uber driver again whereas others think that it’s too soon to trust robots to get us from point A to B.
Self-driving cars aren’t particularly new but, until now, most people would have never had the opportunity to put themselves in them. The people of Pittsburgh are particularly concerned because it’ll be their roads being dominated by menacing robo-autos.
Where’s the evidence to say that these cars won’t go rogue and start tearing at the seams of society? Just saying…
Uber did think of this, though. Every test vehicle will have a human monitor in them who can take control if the worst were to happen. Also, if even one of these cars crashes, the public will turn their back on the prospect of self-driving cars and the idea will probably fall through.
The Mayor of Pittsburgh is obviously very excited, issuing a statement that is the political equivalent of saying: “Hey man, sh*t happens and future cars are pretty neat”.
In Bill Peduto’s words: “There is no technology that is fail-proof, and there is no tech that can guarantee there won’t be accidents, but right now there are 3,287 people who die in automobile-related accidents around the world each day, and there has to be a better way”.
And he’s right with that last part. The question is: will relinquishing control of our cars to a computer change anything at all? Only time will tell.