The latest google selfdriving car.
And no accelerator, and no brakes. I want one. Here's why.
I think it'll be a better driver than I am, and I'm really sure that it'll be a better driver than most of the idiots I see on the motorway. They get so close to my back end that they couldn't possibly stop if I have to, they overtake on the wrong side, they get into the wrong lane then swerve into another lane. They take chances that I feel are insane.
And so do I. Every now and then, I do something that, a moment afterwards, I think "Why the hell did I so something so stupid?" So far, I've got away with it.
The last moderately serious accident I had, was when it was dark, and a cow was released by a stupid farmer onto the road. The cow just ran in front of me, and I almost, but didn't quite, see it and stop in time. I hit the cow, dented the car, the cow ran off mooing, so I didn't kill it, and the farmer and I had an intense discussion about whose fault it was.
If the car had been a self-driver, I think it would have seen the cow sooner (radar works well in the dark) and its reactions would definitely have been faster, because it takes the human brain a *long* time to process some new input and make a decision, and then a *long* time to move my foot from accelerator to brake. I think that if I'd been in a computer controlled car, I wouldn't have hit the cow.
So I think that in a self-driving car, I'd be safer. And if everyone else was too, I'd be *much* safer.
23,660 people were killed or seriously injured on the UK roads in the year ending March 2013. If 1% of that (237) happened on the railways, or airplanes, there would be hysterical calls to shut them down as being grossly unsafe. Yet we accept 23,660. It's insane.
One big issue in a self-driving car is, when it is involved in an accident (and that's sure to happen somehow), is whose fault it is? The driver, maybe, for not taking over the controls at the critical moment? But I don't want the driver to take over the controls at the critical moment, because chances are, he'd do the wrong thing. And I don't want to sit in a driverless car having to be alert all the time in case I need to take over. I want to doze, or read a book. And if there's no steering wheel, no accelerator and no brakes, that suits me fine. And it also means that, whoever is at fault for an accident, it isn't me.
I want one.