Rodney Brooks on the Unexpected Consequences of Self Driving Cars:
In this post I will explore two possible consequences of having self driving cars, two consequences that I have not seen being discussed, while various car companies, non-traditional players, and startups debate what level of autonomy we might expect in our cars and when. These potential consequences are self-driving cars as social outcasts and anti-social behavior of owners. Both may have tremendous and unexpected influence on the uptake of self-driving cars. Both are more about the social realm than the technical realm, which is perhaps why technologists have not addressed them. And then I’ll finish, however, by dissing a non-technical aspect of self driving cars that has been overdone by technologists and other amateur philosophers with an all out flame.
“Everybody is going after 3 billion people,” said Gariepy. This is the market represented by all current drivers worldwide and it’s “perfect from a company building perspective” to go after them, he said. But trying to get to level 5 of autonomous driving on city streets is attempting to do too much too quickly. Instead, Clearpath Robotics is focused on industrial self-driving vehicles, operating in controlled environments where people are trained to follow certain procedures.
The ad is meant to drive home the point that many of the futuristic, lifesaving technologies the car companies have been hyping to consumers already exists in various modes of public transportation, like buses. Electrified propulsion? Check. Freedom from the shackles of driving? Check. The ultimate shared vehicle? Big check.