With only seven characters, here’s why fully autonomous cars are not coming to your city so fast:
Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek: In 2015 the pair demonstrated how they could wirelessly hack a Jeep. Before that, they hacked a Toyota Prius and a Ford Escape. With a laptop connected to the internet miles away, they seized control of the Jeep, cutting the brakes and transmission at the flick of a switch. Think autonomous cars will always be immune?
Chesley Sullenberger: The Miracle on the Hudson pilot struggled with the built-in automated systems to safely land a plane on the Hudson River after its engines failed. The landing was harder than he would have liked, he says, because the automated systems wouldn’t let him push to the wing’s design parameters.
Sam Schwartz (a/k/a Gridlock Sam): The NYC based traffic engineer credited for the word “gridlock”. Some say autonomous vehicles will cause more congestion. Slower speeds, short stops… where will they park when not in use?
Jerry Maguire: “Show me the money!” yell the characters in the 1996 film about a sports star and his agent. Where’s the money to build out an autonomous car world coming from? Who will pay for the signage and road improvements… the smart intersections? How will low income drivers upgrade to new technologies? And, for those who can’t afford it, who will pay for the transportation alternatives?
Murphy: of Murphy’s law fame. What can go wrong will. It will take some time to get all the bugs out. And there will be lots of incidents and liability issues along the way
Benjamin Franklin: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety, ” he famously said. For autonomous vehicles to succeed jaywalking will have to be prohibited. What a field day for civil disobedience! Do we want the kind of future where pedestrian and cyclist behavior must be tightly regulated just to ensure that autonomous vehicles work efficiently?
Those who blindly think that fully autonomous vehicles are the answer to our transportation problems overlook the need to deal with the issues known and unknown in the rollout of such a technology. An incremental approach… a learning curve where new technologies supplement rather than replace the human driver would be the best course. Once again, Franklin nailed it: “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”