Ever since Google’s attempts at developing self-driving cars were announced, industry analysts have been wondering to what extent and how soon technology will replace humans in the driver’s seat. If any of the largest automakers have it their way, then the answer will be “soon and fully.”
Recently, General Motors announced that in 2017 some of its cars will feature assisted driver technology. Although the technology won’t entirely replace human drivers, it certainly appears headed in that direction.
General Motors’ most recognized model, the Cadillac, will be one of the company’s first cars to come equipped with their most advanced assisted driver technology, called “Super Cruise.” General Motors insists its goal is to use this new technology to make driving safer. Super Cruise will allow GM’s cars to communicate with other cars on the road to ensure they remain appropriately spaced while driving at speeds up to 70 mph.
CEO Mary Bara, says, “Having it done for you—that’s true luxury. But rest assured, Super Cruise will keep drivers alert and engaged, and when they want to take control, they’re going to find a car that’s really fun to drive.”
Bara’s speech conforms in spirit to what many automakers have been saying all along, that they are working hard to create a near accident free driving experience.
But not everyone is looking forward to self-driving cars.
Many car enthusiasts, including myself, love the sheer joy of being in control of a finely engineered car as you cruise the highway at top speed. Mankind has always used technology to complement and improve their daily lives from curing diseases to the use of social media to help expand human rights. However, have we become too dependent on the use of technology to perform everyday tasks that humans should otherwise remain in control of?
Another concern is the legal implication of self-driving cars. If two autonomous cars crash, then who is to blame – the driver, the programmers or the manufacturer? Questions like these are what lawmakers are currently attempting to figure out. Although the technology is intriguing, there is much more work to be done before automated vehicles fully take over.