10:26

Driverless cars

Driverless cars are around the corner. It would appear that the technical side is pretty well proven and that it is only two or three years before the driverless version is safer - much safer - than the human operated version.

The issues now are legal - and moral. Who is in charge - and who is liable in the event of an accident? If you like sleeping, drinking and driving, when can you do all three at the same time? The legal and insurance issues are obvious.

But there are other more nuanced problems.  Millions of people depend on driving for their livelihood. What happens if say taxi drivers lobby successfully to be protected? If they are statistically proven to be much more dangerous than their robot competitor, you have an interesting political problem. 

The cold skills of the robot driver brings its own challenges. Take a scenario of a car driving down a street and something happens that means it has to swerve. In the way are an old man and young child. One has to be hit. Which one? Or does the car carry on straight and crash killing the occupant. The outcomes will have to be debated and decided on long before the driverless car goes on the road.

These are first world problems - but the issues that are going to arise are fascinating. 



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