Could Autonomous Cars Mean The End Of Personal Car Ownership?

Sections: Car Safety, Chassis, Telematics

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The car that can drive itself! Continental is the first automotive supplier to receive Nevada’s Autonomous Vehicle Testing License. (PRNewsFoto/Continental)

Autonomous cars are coming, make no mistake about that. But I still like the freedom of the open road in a good car with some great tunes cranked up.

Will driverless cars mean the end of people having their own personal cars and trucks? Do we really want to live in a world where we are shuttled around like mindless drones in generic driverless pods? Maybe I have watched the Pixar movie WALL-E too many times.

“Some people may think they will always want to be able to drive their own car, or that cars must always have operators. Many decades ago, elevators usually had operators and aircraft were never flown by autopilot,” says Richard Gilbert, a Toronto-based consultant on energy and transportation. “A few decades from now, only driverless cars may be allowed on most roads, for safety reasons. Human operators could be a hazard when most vehicles are under automatic control.”

In his article for The Globe And Mail in Toronto, Gilbert also points out, “A major issue, still to be worked out, is who will be responsible for crashes involving autonomous cars. These must be anticipated, even though their rate may be extremely low. Reason might demand that manufacturers will be solely to blame. Manufacturers are unlikely to want this and may seek to share the blame with purchasers or even users. Individual owners may balk at accepting liability, especially if they are not in the car.”

You can read Gilbert’s full article about how driverless cars will move into the mainstream here.

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