It’s a little difficult to imagine that so abruptly we will be in a world where cars can actually drive themselves. But that’s precisely what Nevada lawmakers are preparing for now that Google has tested out a fleet of cars on Nevada highways that are guided entirely by AI processes. And these new cars are now going to require new laws, and Nevada is banking on needing them before 2012 comes to a close.
It’s a dream we’ve had since the first automobile accident – a safe car that could navigate the roads safely without the need for expensive auto insurance and a near zero chance of crashing into objects all without the need for the driver to do anything at all. By 2012 the first drivers may be able to purchase vehicles and program in a destination to travel to. After examining the routes, the AI will be designed to chart the smoothest course and navigate itself to the spot without problem. And with more cars driving automatically, it will mean safer roads and fewer accidents for motorists. Of course it will also make transportation of goods far easier as well. Imagine a fleet of semi trucks loaded with food and supplies arranged in a vast infrastructure that requires minimal human interaction. Of course there are obvious problems that will be associated with this as well.
One obvious question is, if cars become automatic then what will happen to professional drivers? And then let’s consider the places truck drivers need to go in order to ship things from point A to point B. The rest stops, tourist destinations, motels, convenience stores, and everything else will become unnecessary. Instead, automatic trucks will have to refuel using an auto-refueling system where it parks into a specially designed garage, goes through a simple process of refueling, and then continues its journey until it reaches its destination.
But the “auto“ auto industry is still a major potential contender for companies that want a cheap method of moving things from point A to point B. But while it raises several questions that will have to be addressed, there is also a great potential for growth and ingenuity that could ultimately improve our infrastructure greatly. Fewer traffic accidents will mean less money going toward repairs and more going toward actual maintenance. Fuel efficiency will increase as traffic jams become less common and smooth transitions through cities will create improved and more efficient infrastructure there as well. There may even be a push to standardize automatic transportation and self driving cars as statistics are examined and the technology improves enough to make anything else seem wildly dangerous. But will it be affordable? Once it is mass produced, it will likely drop significantly in price making it a feature no less extreme than a GPS system is today.
Let’s just hope the on-board AI is intelligent enough to drive, but not intelligent enough to overthrow the human race.