Just so you know Rob and Apresher, cars are still loved by the younger gen. Especially the male population. I know so many people with "tuner cars" and motocycles. They all love manual control too. However, when it comes to the daily commute, they have their beaters.
Rob, I think it's a generational issue as well. But overall, the key to driverless vehicles is the user controls (ability to override the system, especially in the beginning until drivers gain confidence) and cost. I know that the RobotCar is a trendsetter in predicting a low cost adder per vehicle but I look at other systems current in cars, and it just seems like this can't be a low cost for consumers (especially in the beginning). And then there's the threat of lawsuits and litigations from the inevitable crashes ... a whole other story.
Cabe, to some extent, I think this may be a generational issue. Young adults may be more willing to relinquish driving than older adults who still put a high premium on car ownership. Older Americans have a close personal relationship with their cars. Younger adults may view cars as simply a mode of transportation.
Despite what Rob said about Americans wanting to be in control of their autos, I personally think the autonomous car will take off. I see us all hoping into our cars and letting it drive us where we want to go safely. Like taking the taxi, a computer based personal driver.
I once spent 3 hours a day driving to a job. That's 60 hours wasted each month. I wish I could have done something else during that time.
I know... sleep while the car drive you to work!
WOW – that right there is the only reason needed for autonomous adoption.
You're right, Elizabeth, many of these new developments will not hold their own over time. Remember the push button shift for the automatic transmission? That was seen as an advance when it came out on the Edsel. That certainly didn't catch on.
Having the driver watch TV while driving is, or at least WAS, illegal in Michigan. That might have changed, since it is no more dangerous than drunk driving. And, amazingly enough, the civil liberties people have not come out in strong defense of drunk drivers. It is amazing based on all of the other dumb things that they do.
I checked with the National Highway Traffic Administration, William K, and they said there is currently no law per se against watching TV while driving. So now we have a very odd situation: Using a handheld phone while driving is illegal in many locales, but watching TV isn't, at least at the federal level. More about this tomorrow.
Now that would be a good precedent, and something worthwhile for both affordability and safety to come out of this type of development. I understand sometimes these features are trial and error and need to become standard over time.
Charles, actually, thye way to getrid of the problem of drivers watching television while driving would be for the TV to disable the airbags and release the seatbelt latches. That would do a bit towards making certain that the consequences of TV watching were directed back towards the drivers. And it would not be any big deal if the drivers are only watching TV while stopped in some of those notorious Tokyo traffic jam-ups. Of course it would be fairly simple to observe drivers watching television, just look at them as they pass under a bridge. I saw a seatbelt survey done that way back in the mid 1970's and it did seem to be getting very good data. The main tool is a set of wide field medium magnification binoculars. That and a tracking camers coupled with a means to trigger the picture recording, and there is an enforcement unit, working from the comfort and safety of an overhead bridge.
But of course there is so very much money to be made from cellphone using drivers that it will be much harder to regulate than cigarettes ever were, since the phone companies have a lot more money to spend.
One potential cure could be devices to disrupt cellular connections located every half mile along the expressways. Probably not legal, but probably quite effective.
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