The American Dream of Driving, Automated

Will police need to get a new job, like fighting crime instead of issuing traffic tickets?

What will happen to Americans like my late Mom, who would rather die than stop driving?

The State of Nevada passed legislationon June 22, 2011 that paves the way for autonomous autos. Credited for the passage is heavy lobbying by Google. The entire draft legislation, Nevada Assembly Bill No. 511 is here.

Perhaps best known is Google’s autonomous Audi, but there are many other entries to this effort in the pipeline, including Stanford U which is active in the legal aspects of autonomous driving, VW with a “car that can drive itself at 80mph” and many more.

The technology is fascinating, but I wager that for anyone who has been pulled over, or gotten a traffic ticket for some minor infraction (who hasn’t?) by a heavily armored police officer in a gas guzzling police cruiser, it’s the legal aspect that may be of greatest interest: no more traffic tickets, a more fair, and less expensive insurance framework. Commoditization of vehicles. An increase in safety and reduction in traffic accidents. And with automated traffic management, the next logical step after autonomous vehicles, faster trips with fewer traffic jams.

There’s always a downside. Police forces may be forced to consider layoffs of officers who don’t know how to fight crime – only traffic infractions. That could bump up the unemployment rate for a short time.

In addition to the links in this article: