“Mm, 2000. When I was a kid, we thought 2000 was gonna be like The Jetsons or somin’. It ain’t even The Jeffersons!”-Chris Rock
Most major auto shows, barring the Geneva Auto Salon, having some substantial connection to the automotive world in some way. Detroit. New York. Los Angeles. Shanghai. Tokyo. Paris. Frankfurt. So how did Las Vegas end up with two car shows?
It used to be that the SEMA show was the only place you could catch an automotive exec pawing at a young woman one minute, introducing her as “my niece” the next. But now that the Consumer Electronics Show has morphed into a de facto auto show, you can see that twice in a row, as well as disgraced Gawker editors awkwardly trying to pick up booth babes.
While TTAC‘s Mike Smitka published an essay urging readers to reign in their expectations regarding autonomous cars, a new report by MIT’s Technology Review pours even more cold water on the utopian fantasies of those waiting for the day when humans are no longer in control of the automobile.
Writing in the National Post, Matt Gurney discusses a darker side of autonomous cars, one that many people (especially this writer, who is not exactly familiar with the rational, linear type of operation that is involved with coding)
In a recent interview with PopSci, Patrick Lin, an associate philosophy professor and director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at California Polytechnic State University, proposed a hypothetical scenario that sums up the problem. You’re driving along in your robo-car, and your tire blows out. The computer in control rapidly concludes that your car is moving too quickly and has too much momentum to come to a safe stop, and there is traffic ahead. Since an accident is inevitable, the computer shifts from collision avoidance to collision mitigation, and concludes that the least destructive outcome is to steer your car to a catastrophic outcome — over a cliff, into a tree — and thus avoid a collision with another vehicle.
The raw numbers favour such an outcome. Loss of life and property is minimized — an objectively desirable outcome. But the downside is this: Your car just wrote you off and killed you to save someone else.
This is the 2014 BMW X5. It comes in brown, and will have a diesel option. Alas, there is no manual available like the first generation X5. It can also drive itself at speeds below 25 mph.
“Self-driving sounds like it’s going to do something you don’t want it to do. Autopilot is a good thing to have in planes, and we should have it in cars.”
According to Elon Musk, what we have here is… failure to market effectively.
Sure, driverless cars might mean the end of individual freedom, automotive enthusiasm, and the American man as we know him today, but at least you can’t get busted for drunk driving when you let your robot car drive you home from the local watering home, right?