Then a Waymo self-driving car was involved in a serious accident. Yes, there were injuries and serious property damage.
The latest setback to all those driverless-car startups is The Wall Street Journal article on Tesla's semiautonomous cars. Here is the coverage.
The headline reads: "In Self-Driving Car Road Test, We Are the Guinea Pigs."
Quite scary. Our imaginations conjure up carnage. Both pedestrians and human drivers in other cars seem to be future victims. Powerless ones. Technology versus human.
Actually, the content which follows neutralizes that fear factor, at least somewhat.
In the article, Christopher Mims describes the scope and implications of the Tesla experiment. It is putting 200,000 cars on the road which are capable of autopilot. There will be human drivers inside but they can shift from manual control to the autopilot. This constitutes what is called "semiautonomous driving."
Through this experiment, the drivers in the Tesla cars, human drivers in totally manual cars, and pedestrians are all involved in "training" the artificial intelligence that company is developing.
Of course, no one with the exception of the Tesla drivers has given permission to be participants. And all of them could be hurt or killed during this "training" exercise.
After Mims' article is read by enough people who know how to lobby, the Tesla initiative itself could endure a setback. As for the entire emerging self-driving industry, a lot of shade is being thrown on it.
Reflection: I would have to take a stupid pill to assume this particular tech development is worth the risk.
Contact Jane Genova email@example.com.