Ever since the World’s Fair in Queens, NY in 1939 promising us the world of tomorrow captured the imagination of millions, people have dreamed of where we will be. Chrome icons of sleek perfection, robots, flying cars, colonies in space, the tomorrow of Star Trek and the Jetsons.
However, not everything that’s covered in chrome is gold. What happens if the future looks dark? What happens if we don’t get Star Trek or the Jetsons, what if we end up living in the world of the Terminator and the Matrix?
All Of Tomorrow
Dreams of the future has always been the in the hearts of inventors, creators, pioneers, and explorers for as long as man has walked the earth. We sought to explore the corners of the natural world.
Reach Out And Touch Someone
We built fantastic ships that charted our seas and roads that connected cities so we could more readily be in touch with each other. As we kept inventing and dreaming, our roads were filled with cars and our skies with planes.
One Small Step
Eventually, we slipped the surly bonds of earth, and set foot into the final frontier. The man entered space, and what we could now achieve and dream of achieving was limitless, and without bounds.
Our Robot Overlords
It was in these moments of idealism and triumph that we began to ponder about not about exploration into space but of robots. More specifically robots that can think, and react to the world as a person could.
To The Piggly Wiggly
Since these early days of inspiration, humanity has made fantastic strides toward this reality. While we don’t quite have robot butlers yet, the realm of the robot chauffer is no longer a fantasy.
And The Miles Roll On
One of the most exciting developments in the world today, if you’re a fantastic nerd, which I am only partially admitting to, is the autonomous driving car. It offers an exciting change and relaxing alternative to what millions of people do every day.
A New Day Rises
The premise behind this whole revolution is that you can wake up in the morning, enjoy a coffee and a muffin, walk out to your driveway and into the car. Once there, tell the car where to go, perhaps it’ll have some snappy line, and off you’ll go.
My Car My Choice
You could imagine a nap, maybe hold a meeting, eat an entire lunch. Your hands are free, and your options are close to unlimited!
One Drink To Many
A night out no longer would have a risk of a DUI, no one would be killed by a drunk driver because the computer can’t get drunk. It would be a massive advance in safety and convenience.
A New Way to Tank
For years now DARPA has funded the grand challenge to work toward autonomous vehicles. Having teams compete against each other in a race across the desert and urban environments to see if a car without a driver can safely navigate the world.
The developments have now moved into the commercial and private sector with real-world testing happening. If you check youtube you can watch these advances vehicles drive roads and weave around obstacles safely.
Do they still charge Surge?
It is fantastic to watch and it should be. We are finally living in the future. Uber recently made the first move and after extensive testing incorporated self-driving cars into their fleet.
The Watcher on the Wheel
For now, the cars require a driver behind the wheel at all times to take over in the event the computer fails. Whoever the driver still has the ability to slam on the breaks and stop the car.
So if that is the case, how did a woman die the other day? The car is designed to be overly cautious and this car had a driver who was supposed to be able to stop in an instant.
Blindness for Everyone
The issue it seems is a two-fold problem. Autonomous vehicles are supposed to stop at two instances, when they see something in the road, and when they detect someone in the crosswalk
Staying In the Lines
In this case, though, the accident that resulted in a death was apparently due to the woman walking out in the middle of the road rather suddenly so that neither the driver nor the car was able to respond in time.
A Moment To Slow
In a statement, the driver stated that he was not given enough time to hit the breaks before the car struck her. He stated that she came out of no where onto the road and was hit almost instantly
Look Ma, No Driver?
Uber and the Arizona police are doing a full investigation into the incident to prevent this from happening again. Hopefully, they complete it quickly as California has just passed legislation to allow cars do not have a driver as a backup having faith in the systems and tests that have been run.
The late Steven Hawkins once stated a warning about allowing full AI into our lives as it could end the human race. He probably didn’t mean that there would be a risk form rogue cars but I wouldn’t trust a car called the Decepticon anytime soon.
What is a DMV?
While this single incident will likely not be the death of driverless cars and autonomous vehicles on the streets it will likely raise a few more questions about safety. We have made huge strides toward the future but it seems we still have a long way to go to never need to go through drivers education again.