Self Drive Cars: How Fast is too Furious?

Self Drive Cars: How Fast is too Furious?

Who doesn’t love long rides in rainy days? Or long drive on a starry, breezy night? Or in general long drives?

Oh, I love. But alas! I can’t drive. Well I may make a hundreds of excuses to defend myself for not learning to drive, but the truth is I do it out of my compassion for other fellow drivers and pedestrians and hawkers and street dogs. People will call me out for it but I won’t budge. I am really not made for driving, my hand-eye coordination is miserable, I have played road rash for like 10-15 times and came last almost all the times, after which I have never played such games. So, I don’t want to threaten other people’s lives.

And hence, whenever I feel like going on a long drive, I need to rely on other people (Read ‘Dear Hubby’). And if I really need to go somewhere, I prefer to take Public transport or OLA/UBER. Still there are days when I really wish I could drive. And I hate myself for not pushing my limits.

And hence, for the lazy people like me, ‘Self driving cars’ are a boon. But are they really safe?

Well before I delve into this topic, check this out if you want to know more about the cars:

https://www.google.com/selfdrivingcar/

The problem with Google’s self-driving cars is: It’s a prototype running in a controlled environment where there are no other vehicles, pedestrians and definitely no street dogs (or cats). So how will a Self-driving car perform on a busy street of any urban area, where there are people on road and the position of obstacles can never be fully determined? Moreover how will they perform in a life-threatening situation? Will this autonomous vehicle give preference to the passengers or the pedestrians? Whose life will it save?

Some geniuses in MIT Media Lab created a website ‘Moral Machine’ which presents before you some morally ambiguous scenarios and demand you to judge as a 3rd person, which character should die, and who should live. Check out their website.

http://moralmachine.mit.edu/

MoralMachine-Scenario1
The scenarios roughly look like this.
MoralMachine-Scenario1-desc
And there’s a detailed description regarding the passengers, the pedestrians, whether they are abiding the law and their occupation(??).

 

If you take the test, you would understand how difficult it is to decide which scenario to choose. Especially in cases where children are involved, and I know its not real; still I had a hard time giving preference to any one scenario. This website not only gathers data for their research on the continuous improvement it would bring to robotics, but also test the morality of the people who are taking the test.

And the result?

MoralMachine

It tells you what matters to you the most.

Still with me? So , now what do you think, are they really a boon or bane?

Judging by all the research and hard work all the guys behind this ‘Self-driving cars’ are putting, I guess it will take at least a while for these cars to be on road and available publically.

Till then, I’m relieved that God’s there to take decisions about who’s dying and who’s not. Well, he must be a pretty strong guy to do that!

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