Reply to post: Insurance, not laws, will kill the steering wheel

My self-driving cars may lead to human driver ban, says Tesla's Musk


Insurance, not laws, will kill the steering wheel

I've been predicting since the late 90s that self-driving cars would be on the market, for purchase, on the showroom floor, starting sometime between 2010 and 2020. I don't think that there will ever be laws banning manually controlled vehicles, but I expect that the insurance rates will be so high on cars that can be manually driven compared to those that can't that steering wheels will only be a feature of the highest end cars. Yeah, a lot of fear-mongers talk about the rare conditions, but when the steering wheels disappear, drunk driving will be a thing of the past. Although I find driving to sometimes be fun, I'd sure like to be able to imbibe when out with friends, and let the car worry about getting me home. (Since I'm on meds that "amplify" the effects of alcohol, I don't drink if I think I even MIGHT have to drive.)

I also want to point out that I expect to see the first autonomous vehicles to be high end consumer, such as the Tesla, or maybe Rolls. Once they've been proven reliable in those vehicles for a year or two, then the large companies with large fleets of long-haul trucks (such as [here in the States] UPS and WalMart, to mention a couple of examples) to jump on the technology bandwagon with a vengence. Think about it -- a truck driver costs $50K or more a year, and is limited in how many hours [s]he can drive in a day. Even an investment of $100K to automate the semi would pay for itself in less than a year, considering that it more than doubles the work the vehicle can do.

And all of this doesn't take into account that the autonomous vehicle can be equipped to see in wavelengths outside the human visual range (and so be less effected by fog or smoke), and see all around the vehicle (and thus not have "blind spots").

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