Driverless cars are coming and we should be glad?

The WSJ says the glorious world of driverless cars beckons shinily and Luddite holdouts will be assimilated.

Make no mistake: What’s in play is the emergence of a caste-based traffic system, one of robot-haves and have-nots, of steely-eyed electronic wheelmen vs. Uncle Ed with the bad knee. The dead-enders won’t give up easily. They’ll cling to their steering wheels. There will be friction. But it will all be over pretty quickly.

Google has driverless cars and their driverless taxis will be in Las Vegas soon. It won’t be long until convoys of driverless trucks are zooming down the freeways. Just hop in your driverless car in Los Angeles, enter San Francisco as your destination, then play with your cell phone as the car drives itself!

Well, maybe. The Conejo Pass north of LA on I-5 can be a bit dicey in bad weather. Can a driverless car negotiate getting on a crowded freeway in bad weather when people are grumpy and don’t want to let cars merge in? What happens if the GPS signal is blocked momentarily or an earthquake hits and the driverless car software presumably has no clue what to do?

Besides, there’s another a wee little problem, four million truckers may soon be unemployed and probably feeling a bit cranky about it. Millions more in the trucking support business will probably be out of work too. But heck, they’re just unfortunate collateral damage in the happy new world of Big Brother Will Drive Your Car for you. I mean, what could possible go wrong with that?


  1. Convoys of driverless trucks… that presumes the price of fuel remains heavily subsidized and artificially cheap compared to prices throughout the rest of the world. If oil was subject the the free market in this country, those convoys of trucks would be a thing of the past, and there’d be a lot more local and regional manufacturing.

    I’d write more, but my JohnnyCab is here.

  2. Much higher gas prices would definitely bring many changes to southern Utah where you are. There would certainly be more local industry but the long distances people there drive on blissfully empty roads might become a thing of the past.

  3. Indeed. The roads would surely be empty, but two and three trips a day to town would be impossible, would probably become more like once a week. Gosh, we might have to plan ahead!

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