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Self Driving Cars

Self Driving Cars

I am a dinosaur, a contrarian, and a tech junkie, just so you know going into this discussion. I am outraged by the insistence of self driving cars. I have touched on this topic several times before about making the computer “self aware” and the downfalls of such actions. Enter in the self driving car, also the all electric car. Currently Southern California grids can’t handle air-conditioned summers without a brownout, imagine if every household had an electric car or two on the charger, just how can we handle that? If a modern car can’t reliably connect to my phone over Bluetooth, do we really need a self driving car?

I firmly believe that a resolve will come for the issues of electrical demand, and to the digital complications of the self driving technology, the thing that puts a burr under my saddle, it’s the moral dilemmas posed by the autonomous transportation, and they fall into 2 categories:

  1. Computers deciding who to kill in an emergency evasive situation
  2. An overt seizure of our freedom and privacy

Many of you don’t fully understand what a self driving car is all about, it’s more of “I can get drunk, and the car will drive me home” attitude. That’s not how it works, at least not now. The SAE has created the accepted taxonomy of definitions of the levels of a vehicles intervention in the “Dynamic Driving Task”

  • Level 0- is no automation, as God intended
  • Level 1- is lane centering or traffic-sensing cruise control
  • Level 2- describes features that handle both steering and braking simultaneously

Such is the case in the auto-pilot currently used in the Tesla. The next 3 levels mean, according to the SAE, that “you are not driving when these automatic features are engaged – even if you are in ‘the driver’s seat”

  • Level 3- “Conditional Driving Automation” with the car handling driver operations other than human intervention in an emergency situation
  • Level 4- “High Driving Automation” where the car does everything on its own, even overriding human input, not expecting human interaction, This level of car my not have pedals or a steering wheel
  • Level 5- The car is theoretically able to drive anywhere under any conditions with no human interactions

The trouble is this: in level 3, the human at the wheel becomes complacent with the self driving car, and may not properly react to emergency situations, but the human remains liable for the accident. Level 4 & 5 count completely on technology to decide what to do in an emergency. In other words the car must have an algorithm decided upon by a corporation, or likely the government, that knows in advance if it will choose to run over the old man in the walker, or the baby in the stroller. We are looking at a future where who lives and dies, or whose property is damaged or saved, is predetermined. I can’t handle that.

Self-Driving cars rely heavily upon GPS targeting, car-to-car communications, and proximity sensors. When Level 4 & 5 become reality, it means that a government or a corporation knows where you are at all times. They can and will log your routines, as if Face Book and Google don’t already, but as of yet, those companies can’t stop you from speeding, or prevent your car from going places they don’t want you to go, or take you to places you never wanted to go. This is scary. Thanks for reading, and remember at “Hunt Technology”, you always get “Quality Service & Individual Attention” you deserve.  Hunt Technology, 320 Watson St., Ripon WI, 920-290-0936

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