Nine Embarrassing Problems to Avoid in Your Self-Driving Car

Date: Sept. 1, 2016

It’s one thing when you tell Siri to find you a pizzeria in Portland, Maine and have her direct you to Portland, Oregon. By the time you’ve driven 300 or 400 miles, you start to suspect that something is wrong . . .

In the coming era of self-driving cars, the potential to make even bigger mistakes will increase. After reading lots of literature about the coming revolution in self-driving technology, we have been able to identify some mistakes and faulty assumptions that could embarrass you when you’re relying on your self-driving car to get you from Point A to Point B.

  1. Driver’s licenses. Even though your car will be driving, you will still need a license. At least that is the case right now. A statement like, “But the car was driving, not me” won’t be any more effective than it might have been 25 years ago.
  2. Legal driving ages. Underage drivers will not be allowed to be transported unless licensed drivers are present. It won’t be enough to say, “I know I am only 14, but my Daddy programmed it.”
  3. Driver responsibilities. You will still have to obey speed limits and road rules. Again, it is no defense to say, “The car was driving me, officer, not the other way around.”
  4. Designated drivers still needed. A self-driving car will not get you out of a DUI. At least, not at the time we are writing this blog post. Stay tuned for later developments and stay sober in your car until you hear from us.
  5. Your self-driving car cannot teach your kid to drive. It might seem like a logical expectation to put your son or daughter in the car and tell the car, “You take it from here.” But at present, it is not going to happen.
  6. No compensation for visual or other limitations. A self-driving car, at present, will not allow drivers with visual or other handicaps to be the sole operators on board. Again, this could change. But as of this writing, do not expect to be able to say to an officer, “I know I cannot pass minimum vision requirements in this state, but I don’t need to, because I’m not driving.”
  7. The need for insurance. If you own a self-driving car, you are still going to need insurance. The excuse, “But officer, I don’t have insurance because I don’t drive” might be worth trying, but will not succeed.
  8. The use of restricted and special carpool lanes. You could try telling a police officer, “But sir, there are enough people in this car: one of them is the automated driver.” But as far as we know, your car’s self-driver cannot be counted as one of the passengers in your car.
  9. You will still need to get out of your car. When a trooper says, “Please get out of your car madam (or sir), you are going to have to do it, because your automatic driver is not going to get out of the car for you. That might be harsh, but it is also the state of the art at present.

But Stay Tuned . . .

The customs, rules and laws pertaining to self-driving cars are changing fast. Please add a comment to your blog to add your thoughts and updates.

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