I think confidence levels would be higher if all the vehicles on the road were autonomous, naperlou. One of the fears is that driverless cars will get confused by the crazy things that humans do -- such as blowing red lights, not stopping before a right turn on red, or not waiting their turn at a stop sign.
Rob, it's important to remember that Google's self-driving vehicles still require a driver to sit in the driver seat while the car is moving. Yes, the cars drive themselves, but it says something about the confidence level of the technology that drivers must still be ready to take over. Government bodies and consumers still don't have complete confidence in the technology.
Elizabeth, I suppose a software error like the one that gave the Toyota accelerator trouble could happen with a self-driving car. That's possible, but in the meantime, about 30,000 drivers are dying on our highways every year. Cutting that down significantly would be worth the risk.
You could be right about self-driving cars, Rob, but only if the technology works as it should. Imagine a bug in a self-driving car. It doesn't just mean a hassle for the person who owns it, but it also could mean his/her life! But it seems the technology available already is fairly sound. It just needs to be perfected.
Yes, Elizabeth, I love to drive as well. Just finished a 400-mile round trip to bring my daughter home from college for Thanksgiving. And I enjoyed it. But with the crazy drivers on the road, I'm convinced self-driving cars will make the roads safer.
Brainiac, I only pass through the Chicago area a few times a year and we have checked the transponders and it would not be economical for us to use one. An alternate choice would be some means to render a photo of our license tag unreadable, witout the action being obvious to anybody watching. Illeagal of course, but an interesting concept.
Hahaha 55? That's what the signs say, but you better be doing 70 to survive in Chicago. (I lived there for 25 years) Like you, I was initially disgusted with the tollways, but then discovered they were the only roads actively maintained and improved. Also they've switched to open road tolling with transponders so you no longer have to stop. I was there during the transition to it as an early adoptor and it was fantastic.
I will say that learning to drive in that environment made me a better driver and the one good thing I can say about Chicago drivers is that they use and pay attention to turn signals. I used to carpool with a coworker who said never to use them in Dallas/Fort Worth where he had lived, because it only signalled your intention to the enemy who would use it to purposely cut you off. (I'm only repeating what I was told)
But good luck trying to give anyone a ticket. They only do that when you go above 80, otherwise that would cause its own logjam from rubbernecking and they want to keep things moving during rush hours.
The idea with getting all the cars automated, would be that they would all react to the emergency, cascading back from the incident. It would only be the inattentive manual driver that would cause an accident.
That's a really good question, Rob. It seems like 20 years is quite a long time considering the technology already has been developed and proven. However, you're right that it also seems close. I personally am a little wary of this technology, although it sounds a dream to have your car drive you everywhere. But I also love to drive! So don't want to give that up too soon.
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