Opinion: Self-driving cars should never be allowed on existing UK roads
Putting my life in the hands of a virtual firewall that will fail. Any takers?
Our UK Government wants to let people take their hands off of the wheel on a motorway this year. As always for a Governmental plan it is frankly ridiculous. They obviously think that they are serving the public what they want but the truth is it isn't.
Here are the warning signs that should be ringing alarm bells inside your head.
It reeks of propaganda
It really seems like Boris's government is working like Hitler's in a way. Promise the world to our nation then we get a rotten one at the end of it. Sure, Brexit(so far) and the vaccines have been quite successful but now is where he takes over.
Mr Johnson and Mrs Symonds will tell you that handing control to the computer makes the roads less elitist and it helps the greater good. Isn't that against the whole idea of personal liberty and the Conservative party?
It is also there to serve the concept of gigafactories (who came up with that awful name?) in the UK. On paper it should spell more jobs, large investment and a bright future. All this push will do is drive out manufacturers like Aston Martin, McLaren, Toyota, possibly Nissan and could also be the final blow for JLR to leave too. They are only here because of legacy or because that is where existing infrastructure is. Nobody wants to make items in the UK and that has really been the case for decades. Pushing for driverless tech is just waiting for a walk-out. Why would you stay here when you can't sell the cars you make there because the UK government is more interested in Tesla?
It seems to be turning into an insurance-like business model where they are too busy trying to get new customers to attempt to retain existing ones. Eventually those that either offer lower rates to operate there (like China) or give more freedom (like the USA) will win here.
Brexit has so much potential as proven by our COVID vaccine success-don't blow it Boris.
Tesla has also done a similar thing with 'Full Self-Driving' to sell cars.
It's an excuse for surveillance
By using driverless technology people will become excited when they add 0.1 more MB to the core of the plastic box so what's a camera or mic here and there? They can use this to monitor location, action, conversation and maybe sell this on to third parties for profit if they deem that to hold no threat to governmental integrity. Some might say that this is for the greater good but isn't that why we have police officers on patrol? Really to solve the problems they need to do their jobs better.
What next? We lose the right to free speech? They will try.
Who can be held accountable?
When the car driving the passengers crash (and they will) who is responsible? Those who put the obstacle there? One's programming? An outsider? I have the answer: Our government for letting it happen in the first place. But then if we go back even further then we will end up at the people who stayed silent like the British public.
Once the great Martin Luther King once said something that sums it up really: "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
Think before you stay silent again.
Autonomous cars really show the big issue with democracy
When the Greeks came up with democracy they likely thought that it was the best idea ever. To be fair to say that it is still relevant today is some achievement. In politics normally democracy is fantastic as it brings a fair compromise most are satisfied with and with peace taken for granted as a consequence.
Problem here is that compromise isn't really an option- it has to be a yes or no. You can't have computers and drivers mingling otherwise they will fail to understand each other and crash. Its a bit like Brexit- a lot(like me) support it but those who don't are forgotten.
If driven and computer-driven cars were on separate roads with an impenetrable wall in between so they stay away from each other then I don't mind autonomous cars- just don't make me get in one.
Who is actually funding this?
I wouldn't be so ticked off by all of this if I wasn't paying for it. Our government just fritters away money at self-driving cars that many don't trust, want or can afford. The few that would not fall under those categories can probably afford to build their own roads. There are far better uses for that money that would actually make a proper difference like a lot of cars and taxis or education for safer driving.
Who loses their ability to pay for this in the process?
Taxi drivers, bus drivers, delivery drivers. All of those people and many more professions rely on driving to live. What if you take that away overnight? You lose taxes and you have to pay out benefits to keep them alive as some become unemployable since they are too old to switch.
You would be out of pocket to a robot.
The human being has a lot more potential.
There are tasks that robots cannot do. There are tasks we can do but seem to be too lazy to do so. We can get easily distracted. Really there is so much that I could do but if you want to know all about it then Daniel Berman wrote a brilliant article all about this concept.
Sort ourselves out before we touch the machines.
Autonomous vehicles are being heralded as the answer to America's appalling road-safety record, but instead of replacing humans, some might argue that improving human-drivers is the answer
Isn't this just like a massive iPhone on wheels in the waiting?
One message I can't say enough: cars and phones are separate products and should be approached in separate ways. Why would I want a brick where those back at California control everything? Its a bit like the Ferrari FXX programme where you pay for Ferrari to keep your car. Why would I want to do that? We seem to be getting the wrong end of the stick and nobody is fighting for the right one.
I have said a bit of this before but by letting people take their hands off of the wheel on a motorway then I'm forced to live with the consequences of that going wrong. There is also the loss of choice and the free market. If it was a product that many wanted then they would make their own infrastructure for that market and bypass the red tape but do you see people queueing up for that? Statistically 20% of people do enjoy the drive and there are going to be a lot more than that who don't trust them. If we really wanted then then we would ask for them.
Don't force us or you will face a fight.
Autonomous cars are one of those products where theory and practise return two different results. You pay more so they reserve the right to do more to you. I will never get into an Autonomous car and I would rather live in a cave or jump with no parachute.
Why? Because I can at least keep my life to myself with me making my choices.