Wednesday, May 28, 2014

About those self-driving cars...

My phone's been ringing a lot lately with requests for comment on tech stuff. Beyond the growing volume and frequency, I'm noticing a change in the types of things folks want to talk about. Tech isn't just hard core tech anymore. It's spreading into everyday life, and the topics I'm being asked to weigh in on aren't necessarily the same classic tech issues that once dominated my workload. Total coolness.

To wit, Google's autonomous vehicles, more commonly known as self-driving cars, or robotic cars. They hold the promise of one day freeing us from the scourge of breakfast burrito-munching, text-addicted distracted drivers, and indeed the prototypes driving around parts of California are truly incredible pieces of technology.

The company introduced a new prototype for an autonomous vehicle yesterday (blog entry, The Guardian story, Car & Driver article). While earlier prototypes were based on commercial vehicles, like Toyota's Prius or RX, this one's purpose-built from the ground up. It also has no steering wheels, no pedals, and no provision for human intervention. A little creepy? Probably. But it's another step along the road toward a very different transportation-based future.

Al Jazeera quoted me in an article posted this morning: Google close to unveiling self-driving carHere's what I had to say:
Technology analyst, Carmi Levy, told Al Jazeera that autonomous cars would be an "inevitable part" of the way people travel in the future. 
He added that the transition to autonomous driving would open up a "litany of legal, insurance and even ethical issues". 
Levy said that while there was a risk of vehicles being hacked, consumers and governments would have to accept that with any new technology "perfection may not be universally attainable".
Your turn: Would you step into an autonomous vehicle? Do you agree/disagree with me?

6 comments:

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Cool that you're getting wider and wider recognition, my friend. It's well deserved.

Too bad they couldn't bother to punctuate properly. There shouldn't have been commas around your name when they mentioned you.

mmp said...

Find it hard enough to trust a tram, let alone one of those things.... :)

E. Cartman said...

manual override would be nice. hey... even the A320 has manual override :)

Carmi Levy said...

Thanks Susan! It's been a really long haul, and I'm nowhere near "there" yet. But I'm pleased to see things starting to move in the right direction. What a ride!

One of the sad ironies of the digital age is the apparent erosion of fundamental grammar skills. That saddens me to no end.

Carmi Levy said...

Eric: ...which works most of the time. Except on this flight:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5NXpar4Ouw

Good times over Toulouse!


Carmi Levy said...

Eric: ...which works most of the time. Except on this flight:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5NXpar4Ouw

Good times over Toulouse!