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Living in the Future

Dan Goodchild

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Eliminate humans behind the wheel and you eliminate most of the problems with traffic. AI cars for the win!


Except that computers and automated machinery aren't exactly as reliable as most people think they are.


Yes, taking the humans out from behind the wheel eliminates a whole lot of issues - like following too closely, inattention, gawking at accidents and other things, etc - but a whole host of other issues will remain, and become so noticeable that people will demand to be back in control.


The biggest of those issues would be lack of maintenance and upgrades of the AI vehicles




Well, the machines are certainly far from perfect, but the human-pilot track record for highway travel is hardly stellar.

If nothing else, self-driving cars could at least coordinate with each other via radio link in real time so there would be fewer "sudden stop" surprises, and the like.


As for long-distance travel, I would happily settle for a set of real high speed links (200+kph) the up and down the U.S. Northeast Corridor and across to Chicago. (The current "acela" trains spend only a fraction of their time at peak cruising speed, and even that is well below that of the fastest passenger trains out there.)

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