Come September, California will be granting licenses for autonomous vehicles. Driverless cars. Other states have passed laws for driverless cars and still others have it under consideration, but none but California are to the point of granting licenses. The California license grant will only be for testing purposes with massive insurance coverage requirements, so do not run out to get your driverless vehicle yet. It will take some time while Google works out the kinks, together with Toyota and BMW who are also in the race with this technology.
Who do you suppose is responsible when a driverless car has an accident? One of the primary points of these vehicles is to avoid human error that is the basis for a huge percentage of auto accidents. We have a system of blame, responsibility and liability in place for auto accidents. When the human, not just the human error factor, but the actual human, is removed from the equation, our existing system fails. We need to rethink where to place blame and liability when there is no human action involved. We will need to legislate the behavior of machines.
Drones on Wheels
The possibilities are endless. Someday, though not likely soon, the trucking industry could be using driverless trucks, deliveries could come to you through autonomous vehicles. This will change ground travel as we know it.
There is, as with everything else, a downside. The FBI has very serious concerns about the ultimate use of these vehicles in criminal conduct. Think: car bomb that does not need a martyr at the wheel that can be placed precisely where it is wanted. High speed car chases with no driver at the wheel, though the top speed for these vehicles at this point is about 25 mph, one must think ahead.
The negative uses are all thinking far, far ahead of the current technology. At this point and likely at all points in the foreseeable future, a human has to be in the vehicle and the kinks need to be worked out before the steering wheel and pedals are no longer there. Imagine a human as the back-up system for the vehicle. It really is a brave new world.