autonomous vehicle self driving car
Working from a home office allows me to avoid driving a car to a large extent. Still, it amazes me that I can experience two or three “incidents” on the road in a typical morning commute to drop the kids off at school. “Daddy, why did you call that man a f__ing a-hole?” was a question innocently posed to me by my four year old the other day. Looking down at her like the Grinch encountering Cindy Lou Who, I tried to reassure her that Daddy had said no such words. Inside I was still seething that the massive Toyota Sequoia, it’s driver blithely chatting on her cell-phone as she peered over her steering wheel, had nearly T-boned us at the last intersection.

I like cars. I used to drive a black VW GTI. Then my girls came along and I reluctantly agreed that a minivan might more easily accommodate three car seats than my beloved coupe, though I briefly argued to the contrary. Now I think of cars as utilitarian people-movers. And to that end I’ve become fascinated with the advent of autonomous vehicles.

Autonomous vehicles are cars that basically drive themselves. Various automakers and organizations predict that by 2040 the majority of cars on the road will be autonomous. Cars will communicate with each other, sharing their relative positions and intended routes with each other and a central station that could coordinate their movements. Traffic efficiency and car safety will be vastly improved.

I’m sure the average driver will be reluctant to give up the steering wheel. Perhaps insurance companies could help encourage them by offering safe-driver incentives to adopt the technology. And older drivers would likely welcome a personal “robot chauffeur” to relieve some of the pressures they’re facing to give up their licenses or be re-tested. Other technical and legal obstacles will need to be addressed, like assessing liability in the event of accidents. Do you blame the driver or the technology manufacturer?

But self-driving cars are inevitable and I’m all for them. Let me know what you think. Do you want to drive your car, or have your car drive you?

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  1. If autonomous vehicles are on the road, how exactly would insurance claims work?

  2. Curtis

    Assessing liability will be a challenge for insurance companies and I think this is one of many issues that will have to be addressed.

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