By on May 3, 2016

1940 Nash

He doesn’t have any firm numbers, but Barrie Kirk has a feeling.

The Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence executive director just knows that once humans no longer have to pump the brakes and jerk the wheel of their autonomous vehicles, their ingrained habits will give way to exploits of a carnal nature.

Yes, some people are predicting fleets of rolling bedrooms coursing their way through commuter traffic. Don’t tell Helen Lovejoy.

“That’s one of several things people will do which will inhibit their ability to respond quickly when the computer says to the human, ‘Take over,'” Kirk told The Canadian Press (via CBC).

Canadian officials, like those the world over, are trying to figure out how to regulate the predicted wave of self-driving vehicles. Over-confidence of a vehicle’s autonomous systems on the part of the occupant is one worry that’s popped up among bureaucratic circles.

Those fears were compounded when videos arose of Tesla owners taping themselves performing (fairly mundane) activities while their vehicle was in “autopilot” mode.

“People will not be able to respond in time,” Kirk said.

Will it be “eyes on the road, hands near the wheel” once transportation regulators finish their task? Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, already has loose regulations in effect to ensure there’s an occupant in the driver’s seat of an autonomous vehicle in case emergency intervention is needed.

There’s no word yet on whether Ontario, or other jurisdictions for that matter, will allow Dodge Monaco-sized front bench seats in their self-driving cars.

It’s too bad the “bed in a car” Nash brand is long gone.

Obviously, this is one of those “down the road” issues that people get their knickers in a twist about early on, but regulations have a way of happening eventually, even with the slow wheels of bureaucracy driving them.

So, what will occupants of self-driving cars be allowed to do once governments have their way? Where would you draw the line? Keep in mind that this issue reaches well beyond lewd escapades, and into the realm of napping.

Motel proprietors and window tinting companies anxiously await the outcome of this debate.

[Image: Insomnia Cured Here/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)]

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