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Plymouth Rock: Driverless Cars, New City

Last updated on September 16, 2019 at 10:19 am

Behind the Wheel of the New Driverless Cars: What Autonomous Driving Systems Mean for the Future of Vehicle & Urban Design, Car Insurance

Look Ma, No hands (or feet)!

We’ve written before about how driverless technology is poised to change the way we drive; see here. There have been some new developments since then:

Driverless cars and the new metropolis. Will we see more traffic jams as more people are able to drive who otherwise wouldn’t? Or, as some futurologists predict, will traffic run more efficiently without the need to trawl around the block looking for a parking spot(which, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, accounts for 30 percent of urban driving in business districts)?

The New York Times’ “Bits” blog discussed these and other possible future trends for urban areas in a fascinating post by Nick Bilton, “Disruptions: How Driverless Cars Could Reshape Cities.”

Liberating or dangerous? As driverless cars become more common, will they open the roads to thousands of new types of drivers, such as the visually impaired?

States are leading the way. So far California, Nevada and Florida have passed laws allowing driverless cars to be tested on their roads. More states will probably follow in the years ahead, slowly extending the interstate network on which these autonomous vehicles can travel.

As USA Today recently reported, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder sponsored his state’s driverless cars bill in an effort to stimulate innovation in the Motor City. The bill is predicted to pass by the end of this year.

We wonder…How will driverless cars impact car insurance? How will fully automated cars, many which will rely on voice-command technology, effect liability issues?

The questions are endless: Will getting a driver’s license become irrelevant if you don’t have to pass a road test? What if you’re stopped for drunk driving while behind the wheel of a driverless vehicle? What if someone programs their car to do something unsafe and causes an accident?

The future will be here sooner than we think…Google co-founder Sergy Brin predicts that in five years or so, self-driving cars will be a common sight on our roads. Yikes. The internet giant is working feverishly to develop a commercially viable version of its “autonomous driving system,” which now costs about $150,000. Yikes again.

How much would you pay for a driverless car, and how would it change the way you get around? Would you feel comfortable enough to try out this new technology blindfolded on a city street or an expressway near you?

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