Posted by: travelrat | November 18, 2018

The Driverless Car is Upon Us!

The other day, I was watching a car chase on a TV Show. The ‘good guys’ were just about to catch the villains, when their car came to a complete stop. The ‘bad guys’ had managed to hack into the computer controlling their car, and simply commanded it to go no further.

Of course, in TV fiction, all things are possible, but I wonder if it could be done in real life? If I upset someone enough, could they really programme my car to drive into a tree, or something? Because, these days, it’s almost impossible to buy a car without some form of cyber-technology built in. I have seen a commercial for a car that will even reverse-park itself, with no human intervention whatsoever.

But, what happens if it does clonk something, or run someone over?

‘Not my fault, Chief! It was the Computer!’

Well, it’s not accepted as an excuse if your SATNAV sends you the wrong way down a one-way street, so what really changes?

We don’t seem to be far off the Driverless Car. Which, I hope, does not do away with the need for driving licences … and tests. You may be thinking the day has come when you can go to the pub, have a few drinks and get ‘KITT’ to drive you home. But, I think this wouldn’t be allowed, even under present legislation. I believe the offence ‘drunk in charge’ still exists … same as if you sat in the passenger seat ‘under the influence’ while a learner-driver actually drove the car.

Already, an aeroplane can just about fly itself … but it still needs crew to monitor things and, if necessary, over-ride and take over if the computer suddenly says ‘I don’t want to do that, Dave!’ or something.

I will admit I like some ‘nice to have’ features controlled by a computer, but I still think we’re trying to do too much, too soon with them. I did, however, see a nice little Morris Minor Countryman the other day. It may be thought a bit pedestrian … but it would keep going if every microprocessor in the car failed!

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