Well then, this is an odd one. We’re used to the news blowing predictions out of context but this is a little hard to contort. Elon Musk, the famous entrepreneur, engineer, inventor and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors believes that if self driving cars take to fruition then traditional driving could be made illegal. The idea seems sound but at the same time a glimpse into a very different future to the one we once envisioned.
As humanity becomes ever reliant on digital methods, there’s a sense we are losing the traditional need to engage with physical tools around us. Sure, self driving cars could be safer but they also represent the oppression of travel and the liberation offered by your own free roaming vehicle. Tesla Motors have long been celebrated for their innovations in electric cars but more recently it’s their autonomous cars which have courted the most press.
Elon Musk thinks that should these self driving vehicles become popular, the all out ban on traditional driving would take around twenty years to achieve “because of the sheer scale in the challenge of replacing cars already on the roads”. It seems a little farfetched to trust the world’s travel to a computer system and a tough pill to swallow for the millions of car enthusiasts across the world. We really can’t see it happening, at least not in the next fifty years at least.
The technology itself is still very much in its infancy and as Mr Musk points out, the biggest hurdle will be “navigating urban streets safely at speeds of between 15mph and 50mph”. Self driving cars can’t predict the future any better than a human, so being able to get the car to respond to an immediate and unexpected danger will be a huge task. The outcry at the first on road death in a self driving car would surely cause a social uproar.
How do you feel about this? Overblown nonsense or a wise, ecologically progressive move? Tell us…