Many people remember the British soul band Hot Chocolate’s 1976 hit song “Heaven is the backseat of a Cadillac, Let me take you there / yeah yeah” – but that was about hanky-panky in a stationary car. Now experts and bureaucrats are raising concerns about semi-autonomous cars that don’t require steering or navigational help from the driver. And this gives drivers and passengers free hands and legs to do whatever they want to do.
Barrie Kirk of the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence said: ‘I am predicting that, once computers are doing the driving, there will be a lot more sex in cars. That’s one of several things people will do which will inhibit their ability to respond quickly when the computer says to the human, ‘Take over.”‘
This issue was highlighted by Canadian officials who have been asked to prepare a regulatory framework to govern the use of driverless cars. The points were in briefing notes given to Transport Minister Marc Garneau.
One of the notes mentioned that “The issue of the attentive driver is … problematic,” about Tesla’s auto car. “Drivers tend to overestimate the performance of automation and will naturally turn their focus away from the road when they turn on their auto-pilot,” said the note, which was obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.
There is no ban in Canada currently on driverless vehicles and money has been sanctioned in the recent federal budget to study and formulate rules for this revolutionary technology.
In a recent release, Tesla Motors said: “The Model S is designed to keep getting better over time. The latest software update, 7.0 allows Model S to use its unique combination of cameras, radar, ultrasonic sensors and data to automatically steer down the highway, change lanes, and adjust speed in response to traffic. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, Model S scans for a parking space and parallel parks on your command.”
The Canadian bureaucratic notes mention videos posted online showing Tesla drivers engaged in eyebrow-raising practices, like brushing teeth or reading a newspaper. Tesla, however, has said that “drivers must remain engaged and aware when Autosteer is enabled. Drivers must keep their hands on the steering wheel.”
Google, who is also doing pioneering work on auto-driven cars, says: “To start, we’re building prototype vehicles that are designed to take you where you want to go at the push of a button—no driving required.”
“Aging or visually impaired loved ones wouldn’t have to give up their independence. Time spent commuting could be time spent doing what you want to do. Deaths from traffic accidents—over 1.2 million worldwide every year—could be reduced dramatically, especially since 94% of accidents in the U.S. involve human error”, Google said. – CINEWS