If you look at where the automobile is heading, even within the next short 10-year term, it’s clear that we are going towards fewer mechanically controlled functions, migrating instead towards the more extensive use of electric servos and electronic gizmos.
This has a direct (and sometimes negative) effect on the driving feel, yet increases the level of convenience, and no matter how much car people will rant on about how that is actually an unwanted side-effect of concentrating only on providing mainstream products, nothing will change because industry is profit-driven.
Furthermore, while the novel idea of the self-driving car is just that – a novel idea, the question is do we really want it? I mean since these future cars will be able to drive themselves, and the driver will morph into a semi-active passenger, is that not taking people’s freedom away? I’m pretty sure that in the spirit of how the world currently turns, you will at one point be forced to use auto-pilot on certain roads. Then, there’s also the issue of safety, which will be seriously impaired, but not because the cars themselves will be unsafe, but because they can be run by buggy software which can be hacked, no matter what the manufacturers say or are going to say in the near future…
The point is already being beaten into the heads of the American public via the news which is putting significant emphasis on these new smart cars – they are already selling self-driving cars which aren’t even here yet… Just take this rather silly report from FOX News, which we have posted in video form below. The point they make is valid, but the approach is not. They argue that Al Quaeda terrorist could take control of these smart cars, and control any of the electric or electronic gizmos remotely. It’s funny that even after “catching” Osama, they can’t let go of it, even in cases such as the one described here where the connection is very artificial.
The report is filled with subtle references, and as previously stated, they are right about cars being easy to control by pretty much anybody with the necessary know-how. If you’ve seen the latest Fast and Furious movie (we have – see what we thought here), the villains come equipped with some sort of launchers firing control modules, which once attached to the metal shell, grant them free reign.
I think the industry should proceed with caution in this new direction, and only offer a product that they can guarantee is un-hackable, otherwise the public should reject them and not rely on false promises until given adequate proof. The automakers need to understand that they still make cars for people, not pie charts, and if it weren’t for the people’s willingness to give their products a chance, they would not have existed at all. Also, do show discernment when watching the news and ask yourself this: Why would the largest monopoly of all, Google, be pushing self-driving so fiercely? So that you will be able to read a book and/or do your nails on the freeway? No.
Lastly, some sources have attributed the recent car crash-related death of 33-year-old reporter Michael Hastings to exactly what has been mentioned above; remote controlling a car from a distance, and making it crash, on purpose, and without wearing a turban. This is not the official story put forth by authorities, obviously, but I recommend you do your own research on the matter (see the video of the accident below), and come up with your own conclusion.
By Andrei Nedelea