Transportation brings some of the newest forms of technology to some of the oldest functions in society. Moving people and moving property from one place to another are among the most basic elements of an economy.
The mass production of the Ford Model T was a truly revolutionary development to land-based transportation in the early 20th century. The “horseless carriage” has obviously been a worldwide success.
For a variety of reasons social and otherwise, the allure of driving no longer always maintains its shine. Whether for short trips around town or long trips across the country, there are times when a land-based form of autopilot would be preferred.
While many have dreamed of driving automation for decades, a few companies are now pouring serious resources into autonomous car development and gaining remarkable traction.
That these cars are not only in development, but on public roads in live test mode should be a sign to both citizen and legislator alike that it is now time to seriously and thoroughly ask questions about how driverless vehicles should be deployed among us.
Much of the media coverage to date on self-driving technology has not yet narrowed its focus to public safety and the in-depth implications of these vehicles operating in our many forms of public traffic. One high-profile article was even titled, “How Google Got States to Legalize Driverless Cars.”
The following questions are offered in the interest of stirring public discussion and debate on these technology developments.