I love technology as much as I love Beth Marie’s homemade ice cream in Denton, TX. As my wife will attest, that’s a lot! And I can clearly see how the evolution of vehicle assist innovations are already saving lives, even if we can’t necessarily see it in tangible numbers thanks to a growing inattentiveness by drivers.
But at the same time, I also know how imperfect technology can be, especially in today’s “release now, fix later” software release cycle. Continuous Integration can have a negative consequence without thorough Quality Control. And as the number of technologies and non-contained services grows, the number of possible holes in a technology solution also grows – exponentially.
That leads me to this real question – can autonomous vehicles truly be a mainstream reality? I know companies are putting untold amounts of money into the technology, but I think there are real questions surrounding whether or not this will become a reality. As we continue to see high-profile hack cases, how will we trust autonomous vehicles? As I sat in a Mercedes SUV with self-parking, I’ll admit, I didn’t trust it one bit as it was parking itself. As we’ve seen with major releases from all major software vendors that have had glitches (not going to name names, but they have been releasing software for 30+ years), how can we ever be sure that autonomous vehicle updates won’t fall victim to the same issues?
On to my final point – if you have ever been to Italy, you’ve experienced how crazy the drivers are there. If you haven’t been, suffice it to say that driving is an art form in Italy – far from a boring ride… It seems to be an expression for life there – to drive is to be alive in Italy. And come to think of it, to drive is to be alive even in the US (unless you’re in rush hour traffic). That’s why car companies use slogans such as “Zoom Zoom” and “The Ultimate Driving Machine”. So I guess what I’m asking is, will autonomous vehicles take away a small piece of our soul? Or will they introduce so much more relaxation and productivity that we won’t care? I guess they could give us more time to look at our devices or work.
One thing is for sure – the result and byproduct of self-driving cars will be one of the most fascinating evolutions witnessed by our generation. Suffice it to say, this is one area of technology where I will definitely not be an early adopter.