Sunday, November 25, 2012

Baby you can drive my car

This image is from the huge wreck in Texas last week.  There was thick fog, and drivers couldn't see the wreck ahead and added their vehicles to the destruction.  This is just one of many ways that mistakes and shortcomings of human drivers.  Google's driverless cars have logged hundreds of thousands of miles driven without any computer-caused incidents.  We spent around $1.4 trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan to maybe have stopped a 9/11-sized attack or two, if you accept the neoconservatives' view.  3,000 Americans die on the road every month in the summer.  How many of these fatalities could be prevented if we figured out a way to replace human drivers with computers?

Of course, putting the $150,000 worth of equipment needed for the Google driverless car into each of the roughly 250 million cars on the road would cost $37.5 trillion.  There could probably be some economies of scale to bring that number down pretty significantly.  At the very least, some sort of mandatory in-car device that could pass along important bits like "WARNING: HUGE FUCKING CRASH AHEAD" seems like it might be worth the cost.

2 comments:

NWest said...

I wouldn't mind having and iPhone or Android device drive around other people's cars. But mine? There's a reason I drive a standard transmission ;). Highway travel, maybe the computer can take over a bit. But speaking as someone who works with computers - I don't trust that it won't be built by a project manager who knows nothing, overseeing a bunch of programmers from overseas paid nothing wages, building a system with "bugs" all over the place.

TableTopJoe said...

Huh... I drive a stick because otherwise I get too distracted... I like to sing with my music. Next thing I know, "Sympathy for the Devil" comes on and I'm doing 65 through the city.

Dangerous.