The Blog of Zak Spade
Autonomous vehicles are the future. We hear it all the time. It will be safer and that will make it cheaper for society, in the long run.
However, what are the downsides? There are possibly as many, if not more, than those oft-quoted as benefits; although that may depend on the opinion of the commentator.
Gone will be the offences of dangerous or reckless driving. Careless driving will be one of those things discussed by history nerds in the future, possibly treated as a mythical thing. Speed cameras will be taken down or stand, rusting, by roadsides, unused and uncared for by anyone.
Or will they?
When passing a large lorry on a major road where its speed limit is lower than that of whatever you are travelling in, it doesn’t make sense to linger as one passes. If that means popping over the proscribed speed limit for the duration of the pass, then that shortens the time during which a much smaller vehicle is alongside what can sometimes be a behemoth. What then?
Will autonomous vehicles stick to speed limits, regardless of safety or common sense, or will the box of magic tricks allow a miniscule breach of the rules so as to minimise risk? If it does, and that results in the need to issue a speeding ticket – who is responsible for paying it? Is it the car manufacturer? Is it the company that develops the autonomous driving software? Is it the Registered Keeper?
Answer that question and you can graduate upwards to trickier matters such as those involving death or injury caused by autonomous vehicles.
It might be worth remembering that we are being led by a government that has mandated the outlawing of selling new non-electric cars by 2030 but hasn’t managed to come up with any ideas regarding the structure of driving lessons and tests once internal combustion engined vehicles with gearboxes are off the roads. So, don’t figure on any proper legislation ahead of autonomous vehicles appearing on the road.
Scared to Death
The St George’s Day nationwide phone alerts test went well, and possibly
better than most people think.