Self-Driving Cars: Don't Hold Your Breath

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
self driving cars don t hold your breath

Ben Klayman, Reuters’ Detroit-based crack car correspondent, wrote a very good feature on self-driving cars. After interviewing many sources, he comes to the conclusion that “it’s been more than half a century since some of the first concept cars boasting self-driving features were presented to the world” and that this probably will not change anytime soon. Even Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google and the staunchest supporter of the technology cautiously says that “self-driving cars should in our lifetime become the predominant way.”

1956 Firebird II – had autopilot

The answers Klayman received from experts range from “My mental model of trust in technology is a Windows blue screen of death. That’s how much faith I have in PCs and computer systems,” said by Bryan Reimer, a research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab, to a despondent Bob Casey, curator of transportation at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, who seems to have accepted that the driverless car is coming and who is already bemoaning the past when real cars were still driven by real people:

“Part of the fundamental attraction of automobiles has been the actual driving of them. If you do away with that, then it really becomes an appliance … a toaster, a washing machine.”

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  • Mikedt Mikedt on Aug 16, 2012

    Driverless cars can't happen fast enough in my opinion. By my observations 80% of the driving public does their best to detach themselves from the driving process as it is. Better to get them fully out of the driving loop so I don't have to worry about them merging into me while they text on their cellphones.

  • Wumpus Wumpus on Aug 16, 2012

    First, one big thing about comparing FAA software to MS-bloat is that the FAA can come into the software house and demand an explanation for every single line of code a programmer ever committed. Vastly different from what is in windows, office, or iDrive. I can't belive the list above. If automated cars come, it will be driven by: Old people who know they can't drive, but won't give up their freedom. Nearly all are in the latter, the former takes awhile. Soccer moms aren't quite the political force they are said to be, but they all vote and would love to have an electronic chauffeur available. Chronic drunk drivers aren't a political force at all (and MADD will fight tooth and nail to prevent them from going safely to and from bars), but will certainly cut down the 30k/year deaths. Drafting. Somehow they the article never mentioned the gas mileage benefits to drafting. Notice the olympic peloton at ~35mph? Any idea how much more important it would be at >70? Also allowing such close following would pretty much mean a break from endless and expensive building of new highways. People won't care about this until after it is done, then won't know how they lived without it.

  • Scott Can't be a real 1965 Stang as all of those are nothing but a pile of rust that MIGHT be car shaped by now.
  • 56m65711446 So, the engineers/designers that brought us the Pinto are still working at Ford!
  • Spookiness I dig it. The colors are already available on the CX-50. The terracotta is like a nice saddle brown. The non-turbo Carbon Edition has a bluish gray and a burgundy leather interior. A nice break from the typical relentless black and 50 shade of gray palette. Early CX-30's had some dark navy blue (armest, console, and parts of the door) but I guess that was just too weird and radical so they switched to all-black.I'd be fine with cloth in colors, leather is over-rated, but I'll never have an all-black interior in a car ever again.
  • Haze3 Interesting vehicle but, really, it's not hard to be great at anything if cost is not a serious constraint. This is A LOT of cost.Second, it's no great trick to use a large battery to get large range. If the internet is to be believed, the long-range R1S runs a 135KWh pack vs. the I6 at 77KWh. That's going to add up to a big difference in running mass and charging times.
  • Urlik So Texas did approve dropping it. Honestly I expect little difference. A significant percentage don’t bother with inspections, registration, or insurance as it is.