Will regulation stifle the development of driver-less cars following first fatal accident?
Over the weekend I heard of the sad death of Joshua Brown who was in a car operating in autopilot mode. As I understand it, a semi trailer turned across the path of the Tesla Model S car and the on-board anti-collision computer system did not pick up the light coloured truck against a light sky. Whether Mr Brown saw the truck coming we will never know.
United States Transportation Department officials have started an investigation into the cause and many people, including those in the insurance industry and government regulators will be watching for the results with interest.
Ironically, Mr Brown had filmed an incident earlier where the car had prevented a serious accident.
My concern in our Nanny State world is that some interests will attempt to use this tragic event to urge regulators to put up barriers to the development or use of the technology.
Can you image if the governments of the world had stopped or even held back the early development of aircraft technology, how much economic and political benefit would have been lost, not to mention the pleasure of tourism that the ongoing development of flight has created. The early developments in flight, of course allowed the development of space flights with huge scientific and economic benefits. Affordable space tourism is just around the corner.
I have been watching the development of autonomous vehicles with great interest for many years now. I see huge benefits in so many ways. The transport industry is the most dangerous industry to work in. More dangerous than mining and construction put together. To read the latest on this subject visit https://www.finder.com.au/most-dangerous-jobs-australia
There will be lessons learned from this accident and I am certain that the technology will continue to improve and over time the appalling death toll and the number of serious injuries will be reduced by this technology. Hopefully the regulators will appreciate this and not throw the baby out with the bath water.