Archive
2015
January
2014
May
July
November
December
2013
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
September
October
November
December
2012
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
2011
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
October
2010
September
October
November
December
Jan. 08, 2015

Driverless Car: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

by Ira Flatow

Click to enlarge images
Cars are invading the bastion of the tablet and TV set: the Consumer Electronics Show (tune in to SciFri on January 9th for more on CES). And the driverless car is a hot topic. (Some people refer to these vehicles as “self-driving cars.” Perhaps “driverless” sounds too scary?) Take the Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion, which boasts swiveling seats, that debuted at the show. “The car represents Mercedes' vision of a fully autonomous rolling lounge that envelops four passengers in technology and comfort,” reports Gizmag.
 
Personally, I think that 10 years from now the driverless car will be common, starting first at slow speeds in cities and branching out to the highways. From my own driving experience, I tend to believe that highway driving is more consistent, as there are fewer turns, intersections, decisions, and obstacles.
 
My question is this: Who wants a driverless car? I enjoy the driving experience and buy cars that are fun to drive. But I may be a dinosaur. And considering the increasing number of people glued to their phones—and the ensuing distracted driving accidents—I'd prefer that people who’d rather be tweeting, texting, or shopping online aren't controlling a car. (This brings to mind the old Greyhound commercial about taking a bus “…and leave the driving to us.”) 
 
I suspect that much of the impetus for the driverless car is all about the money. Google, a driverless flag-bearer, would probably much rather that you never put down your smartphone even to drive your car. There’s money to be made with that idea. 
 
Google has already rolled out an experimental autonomous vehicle that has no steering wheel. “The only things the driver controls is a red “e-stop” button for panic stops and a separate start button,” The New York Times wrote last May. (Granted, Google ran into a roadblock in the form of new testing rules from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, the Wall Street Journal reported last August.)
 
For me, I'll take intelligent cruise control, where I have the option to drive or let the car do it for me. And it won’t be because I don’t trust the new technology. Rather…I just like to drive. 

 

About Ira Flatow

Ira is the host and executive producer of Science Friday.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.
EVAL ERROR: Entity: line 1: parser error : Space required after the Public Identifier

                                                 ^
Entity: line 1: parser error : SystemLiteral " or ' expected

                                                 ^
Entity: line 1: parser error : SYSTEM or PUBLIC, the URI is missing

                                                 ^

Code:
line 1: package tmpevalpackage;
line 2: sub doEval { 
line 3: 	my($parent);
line 4: 	
line 5: 	if($LayoutManager::url_resolved_values{'SEGMENT.nickname'}) {
line 6: 		$parent = $LayoutManager::url_resolved_values{'SEGMENT.nickname'};
line 7: 	}
line 8: 	elsif($LayoutManager::url_resolved_values{'VIDEO.nickname'}) {
line 9: 		$parent = $LayoutManager::url_resolved_values{'VIDEO.nickname'};
line 10: 	}
line 11: 	elsif($LayoutManager::url_resolved_values{'DOCUMENT.nickname'}) {
line 12: 		$parent = $LayoutManager::url_resolved_values{'DOCUMENT.nickname'}
line 13: 	}
line 14: 	
line 15: 	if($parent) {
line 16: 		my(@books) = &Database::SelectClause('BOOK',"parent = $parent");
line 17: 		if(!@books) {
line 18: 			$parent = '';
line 19: 		}
line 20: 	}
line 21: 	
line 22: 	if(!$parent) {
line 23: 		my(@sel) = &Database::SelectClause('GLOBAL','record all ""');
line 24: 		if(@sel) {
line 25: 			$parent = 'GLOBAL.' . $sel[0];
line 26: 		}
line 27: 			$main::ENV{'reading_header'} = "FEATURED READING";
line 28: 	}
line 29: 	
line 30: 	 = '';
line 31: 	
line 32: 	if($parent) {
line 33: 		my(@books) = &Database::SelectClause('BOOK',"parent = $parent");
line 34: 		0 = 0;
line 35: 		my $dots;
line 36: 		foreach(@books) {
line 37: 			my(%data);
line 38: 			&Database::GetRow($_,'BOOK',\%data);
line 39: 			my($status,$title,$author,$url,$image,$width,$height) = &SciFri::Schema::getAmazonItem($data{'isbn'});
line 40: 			if($data{'title'}) {
line 41: 				$title = $data{'title'};
line 42: 			}
line 43: 			if($data{'author'}) {
line 44: 				$author = $data{'author'};
line 45: 			}
line 46: 			if($status eq 'ok') {
line 47: 				 .= "<div class=\"box-2x1-item box-slide\" data-href=\"$url\">";
line 48: 				 .= "	<div class=\"box-2x1-item-photo\">";
line 49: 				 .= "		<div class=\"image-wrapper\" data-jsclass=\"imageWrapper\" data-align=\"right\">";
line 50: 				 .= "			<img src=\"$image\" data-width=\"$width\" data-height=\"$height\">";
line 51: 				 .= "		</div>";
line 52: 				 .= "	</div>";
line 53: 				 .= "	<h4>$title</h4>";
line 54: 				if($author) {
line 55: 					 .= "	<p>by $author</p>";
line 56: 				}
line 57: 				 .= "	<div class=\"box-2x1-more-button\"><a href=\"$url\"><img src=\"/images/v1/icon_text_more_white.png\" width=47 height=15 border=0></a></div>";
line 58: 				 .= "</div>";
line 59: 				++0;
line 60: 			}
line 61: 		}
line 62: 	}
line 63: 	if($parent eq "GLOBAL.1") { $main::ENV{'reading_header'} = "FEATURED READING"; }
line 64: 	else { $main::ENV{'reading_header'} = "RELATED READING"; }
line 65:  };
line 66: &doEval();
line 67: 1;

Science Friday® is produced by the Science Friday Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Science Friday® and SciFri® are registered service marks of Science Friday, Inc. Site design by Pentagram; engineering by Mediapolis.

 

topics