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Elon Musk Thinks Humans Will Be Banned From Driving
posted on Mar 24 2015 by Kiri Nowak
Electric car company Tesla’s outspoken owner Elon Musk usually has some pretty interesting things to say. He is definitely not afraid of speaking his mind and has some extremely bold aspirations. Now he is claiming that driving is ‘too dangerous'. At Nvidia’s annual developers conference he said ‘You can’t have a person driving a two-tonne death machine’. That’s quite a statement. To car enthusiasts, the notion that one day we might not be allowed to drive our own vehicles is catastrophic. The thrill of driving would be lost to an army of driverless cars that are all programmed to drive in the same way. That seems pretty damn depressing if you ask us.
Yes Musk is right in that cars can be hazardous but safety technology has come so far that today’s cars are far safer. Surely it won’t get to a point where people are denied the freedom of driving and subjected to being permanent passengers. Elon’s words have been picked carefully because Tesla are extremely interested in producing driverless cars on a large scale, so it is in his interests for autonomous driving to become a reality. Although Elon was attempting to be realistic by pointing out that to get to this point it could take around 20 years, telling The Verge ‘I think it is important to appreciate the size of the automotive industrial base. There’s two billion of them.’
Tesla recently announced an autopilot feature on their new Model S. This car can switch on the air conditioning before a trip, pick out obstacles on the road and park itself in a garage. Despite these smart features the Model S is still not fully autonomous. Musk explained how he sees the transition from people to autonomous cars. ‘It would be like an elevator. They used to have elevator operators, and then we developed some simple circuitry to have elevators just automatically come to the floor that you're at ... the car is going to be just like that.’
Musk feels that the driverless cars of the not so distant future will be safer than cars driven by people. He claims there is evidence to prove that they are safer and the proof is ‘overwhelming.’ Many professional drivers will be offending at the idea that a computer operated car would be able to drive better than they could.
Some people might find the concept of being able to watch a film or sit back and relax while their vehicle drives them around appealing, but anyone who enjoys driving will be frustrated by the idea. These companies might try and claim that driverless cars are safer but would you put your life in their hands?
Musk has said that the most challenging parts of driving for driverless cars will be when driving between 15 and 50mph. It’s during these speeds that there are more unexpected obstacles that a human would still need to react to. If he still has these worries then why does he think it’s possible for humans to be taken out of the equation entirely?
It’s not just Tesla in the race to develop driverless cars. Other manufacturers including Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and even Google are all trying to get one step ahead. It seems pretty set in stone that driverless cars will be a part of our lives in the next ten to twenty years, but to what extend we don’t know. How dominant they are will depend on the response from the public, buyers and the government. What do you think? Could you imagine living in a world where people no longer drive cars?