Driverless Cars? How Driverless Should They Be?

METRO NEWS CALGARY’s  Sunday Edition (June 11,2017) reports that a number of city councilors would like to see autonomous vehicle testing in Calgary.  There apparently could be some 30 companies Alberta currently developing technologies that could be applied to autonomous vehicles.

Brodie Thomas’ article appearing in Calgary’s METRO NEWS  be read by clicking HERE .


Once upon a century I was watching a TV show where a standup comedian opined about the onset of new technology in autonomous transportation.  His story went like this:

People were aboard an airliner that had just taken off.  Once airborne, the intercom came on and the passengers heard

“Welcome aboard your pilotless flight to London.”

“This aircraft is totally automatic and has no pilot aboard”

“Be rest assured that with a robotic pilot absolutely nothing could possibly go wrong… go wrong … go wrong … go wrong……. go wrong …  like a broken record.”

That joke I heard underscores an important point about autonomous transportation— the driver is a machine without a soul and like the engine that propels the vehicle,  something can indeed go wrong.  All machinery, including computers and robots, break down from time to time.

That is why modern airlines, although operating autonomously for most if not all of the flight, requires a qualified pilot onboard.   Automobiles are no exception.  The driver must be capable of taking control of the vehicle at any time.

Such technology is a valuable asset to automobile technology and will certainly reduce the rate of accidents but it has its limitations like everything else. 

Autonomous vehicles are a great idea provided that a manual override switch is installed.