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Free Minds & Free Markets

Will the Government Ban Human Driving?

Do we need a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to drive?

SelfDrivingEvgenyGerasimonovDreamstimeEvgeny Gerasimonov/DreamstimeWhen self-driving vehicles become safer than human-driven ones, the government will ban people from driving. Or that, at least, is the claim made in some recent articles in Automotive News and National Review. Bob Lutz, former vice chairman and head of product development at General Motors, declares in Automotive News that vehicles "will no longer be driven by humans because in 15 to 20 years—at the latest—human-driven vehicles will be legislated off the highways." By the time 20 to 30 percent of vehicles on the roads are fully autonomous, Lutz argues, officials "will look at the accident statistics and figure out that human drivers are causing 99.9 percent of the accidents."

Most self-driving vehicles, he believes, will be standardized modules ordered and operated by big transportation fleet companies; riders will summon them with the touch of a screen or a voice command to a digital assistant. Human driving of high-end specialty vehicles will continue, Lutz predicts, but only as an elite pastime confined to country clubs and the equivalent of motorsport dude ranches. "The era of the human-driven automobile, its repair facilities, its dealerships, the media surrounding it—all will be gone in 20 years," he writes.

Similarly, National Review's Charles C.W. Cooke writes: "At some point in the future, be it years, decades, or a century hence, the federal government will seek to ban driving." Cooke agrees that those seeking to ban human driving will base their arguments on the dramatically lower level of highway carnage that self-driving vehicles will bring about.

Lutz is more or less resigned to a future where human driving is banned, but Cooke fiercely argues for resisting any such ban. Indeed, he urges the adoption of a constitutional amendment: "Congress shall make no law restricting adults from driving licensed vehicles."

In the 20th century, Cooke points out, automobiles were machines of liberation enabling people to go where they wanted when they wanted without having to tell anyone what they were up to. In contrast, the fleet owner of automous vehicles would know where the car picked you up, where it let you out, and how many passengers traveled with you. The company will probably also monitor you via video to make sure you don't vandalize the module. Cooke argues that such a vehicle "would become a telescreen on wheels—an FBI-approved bug, to be slipped beneath the chassis in plain sight of the surveilled. At a stroke, my autonomy would be gone."

Cooke has a point. Still the fact is that our robocar travels will add only a bit more to the copious data exhaust we already leave in our wakes as we wander through the world using our credit cards, Apple Pay, ride-hailing services, E-Z passes, and mobile telephones. Protecting our privacy from government snooping will take far more than guaranteeing folks the right to drive themselves. (For example, the U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering a case in which police demanded without a warrant the geolocation cell phone data that they used to prosecute a suspected armed robber.)

Whether or not human driving is ever actually banned, a good first step toward for protecting our privacy, including our privacy while traveling in self-driving vehicles, would be the adoption of the Geolocational and Privacy Surveillance Act. This law would require the government to show probable cause and get a warrant before acquiring the geolocational information of any U.S. person. The act would apply "to all law enforcement acquisitions of the geolocational information of individual Americans without their knowledge, including acquisition from commercial service providers as well as direct acquisitions using 'Stingrays' and similar devices or tracking devices covertly installed by the government." The act would require a warrant for real-time tracking of a person's movements and for the acquisition of records of past movements.

In any case, most folks will probably switch voluntarily to hiring self-driving vehicles on demand—not just because they're safer, but because using them is projected to cost as much as 75 percent less than owning a car. It will be interesting to see how much liability insurance will cost folks who still want to drive on public roads in world where automobile accidents will have become very rare. Don't be surprised if it's the market, not the government, that ends up "banning" human-driven automobiles.

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  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Will the Government Ban Human Driving?

    Yes. But they will still probably require a union driverman to sit in the front seat.

  • operagost||

    He will push the button that allows the otherwise completely automated vehicle to depart.

  • Hugh Akston||

    So a thing that millions of people do every day will be banned by a government that hasn't successfully passed a budget for the past 8 years?

  • ||

    Right, the post-singularity Chinese government will ban religiously-oriented, cybernetically-unmodified humans from using jetpacks to travel long before they ever get around to self-driving cars.

    July 11, 3011 - Never Forget!

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Don't be surprised if it's the market, not the government, that ends up "banning" human-driven automobiles.

    If it slowly becomes more and more convenient to just hire a car as needed and so people gradually stop ownership then I am fine. I am always fine if the result is people just doing what they think is best for themselves. Even if I am one of those crazies who just loves driving and would deeply miss it if it went away.

    The problem is always the government. They will legislate this down our fucking throats and they will do it in a way that fucks the most poor people. They will probably also create special exceptions for certain groups who are powerful enough to demand it.

  • SQRLSY One||

    And also, Government Almighty will make sure that you can NOT order the robocars to take you to gatherings (protest rallies etc.) that Government Almighty does not approve of!

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I'm not even going to pretend that I can guess the immense violations that would emanate from the ban. One of the most sought qualities from a government is a populace that STAYS PUT.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    This is where I'm at. What about those of us that have classic cars? Should I see the value of my car drop because a bureaucrat says? If the market does this it would likely just require additional insurance on my part, which would be fair. If the autonomous cars can't handle human driven cars at the same time they admittedly flawed.

    Red Barchetta was right.

  • mandel||

    Don't be surprised if it's the market, not the government, that ends up "banning" human-driven automobiles.

    If it slowly becomes more and more convenient to just hire a car as needed and so people gradually stop ownership then I am fine. I am always fine if the result is people just doing what they think is best for themselves. Even if I am one of those crazies who just loves driving and would deeply miss it if it went away.
    http://www.imfaceplate.com/Hor.....anager-app The problem is always the government. They will legislate this down our fucking throats and they will do it in a way that fucks the most poor people. They will probably also create special exceptions for certain groups who are powerful enough to demand it.

  • Untermensch den 2||

    The era of the human-driven automobile, its repair facilities, its dealerships, the media surrounding it—all will be gone in 20 years

    Far be it from me to gainsay so impressive a figure, but I would note that such predictions have a way of not happening, and the big changes are the ones the experts don't see coming…

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I hope transportation happens so I can stop missing my friends and family.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Teleportation

  • Hugh Akston||

    Even though you will technically be composed of different molecules after you rematerialize, I'm pretty sure the restraining orders will still apply.

  • Jury Nullification||

    Teleportation will never happen because the oil companies will buy up all the dilithium crystals mines and the transporter patents.

  • Robert||

    Teleportation will of course have enormous benefits. No idea when we'll get it, it'll probably require some unforeseen breakthru. Same w reliable telepathy.

  • ||

    No idea when we'll get it, it'll probably require some unforeseen breakthru.

    I think this is one of those times when the word "Inconceivable" means exactly what you think it means.

    Considering every depiction we've had of teleportation completely overlooks or glosses over obvious and simple pragmatic flaws it's like Revolutionary Americans discussing airports or the internet.

  • ||

    Widely held depiction, that is.

  • Agammamon||

    C'mon - you don't think handling energies sufficient to completely destroy a major city, instantaneously killing 20 million people, is more than a little speedbump on the road to prosperity, do you?

  • ||

    Obviously, you'd work on distilling the sum total of their existence down to their atoms' positions in an exceedingly brief period of their life first. Otherwise, the whole storing and transferring thing is just a parlor trick. Also, even if you mess the trick up, here, there, vaporized to all points in between... wouldn't exactly matter.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Hrm...

    If you're wrapped up in actually achieving teleportation, then yeah, it's a pretty big problem.

    But how about effectively achieving it? Let's say we're all "brains in jars" somewhere, where we operate all our bodies remotely via the SuperNet. In that case, "teleportation" would be as simple as "logging out" of one remotely operated chasis and "logging in" to another.

    We wouldn't actually be moving instantly from one location to another, but we would be moving our awareness and consciousness from one to another. This would also probably effectively give "telepathy" as well.

    Really, what pie-in-the-sky idea isn't better accomplished with brains-in-jars?

  • ||

    Let's say we're all "brains in jars" somewhere

    According to Antonio R. Damasio's somatic marker hypothesis, such a thing is impossible: a brain without a body isn't functional. I understand that you're imagining these "brains in jars" with bodies attached remotely over the SuperNet, but such an attachment implies purely (bio)electrical means: it would lack vascular (blood) connection, which itself carries considerable amounts of information for example in the form of hormones. So the attachment would be considerably narrower than in case of brains being located in & integrated with (their own) bodies.

  • Robert||

    How about minds w/o brains?

  • ||

    Some material substrate -- a brain -- is necessary for any conceivable mind. Of course this is the materialist position; but I can only think in terms of materialism.

  • ||

    I can only think in terms of materialism.

    Right, otherwise, inconceivable.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Progressives have that one covered already.

  • Agammamon||

    Please, please, please - tell me what's so special about these somatic markers that they can't be simulated.

  • ||

    Just sticking to the issue of blood: that would require a real-time full-spectrum blood analyser and blood 'mixer' on both ends (body & brain) to simulate the "information content" carried by the blood in both directions. Which would be considerably more challenging from a biotechnological aspect than just the conversion & transmission of neural signalling (which is presumed to be purely [bio]electrical).

  • BYODB||

    Of course, relativity still dictates a speed limit upon the transfer of information. Unless you also somehow develop a magical quantum communicator or something like it.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    'Reliable telepathy'? As opposed to unreliable telepathy? Is unreliable telepathy a thing?

  • Vernon Depner||

    Is unreliable telepathy a thing?

    Women use it constantly.

  • Robert||

    As the number of human drivers decreases, their driving will become safer too. The odds of 2 of them running into each other will diminish.

  • damikesc||

    Isn't there a likely apocraphyl tale of there only 2 cars in the entire state of OH at the time...and they hit each other?

  • gaoxiaen||

    I heard that it was Kansas.

  • gaoxiaen||

    However, I did see two cars collide in a completely empty mall parking lot. Then two women got out and started arguing.

  • Episteme||

    Cue drunkenly driving into a ditch.

  • meister574||

    The market will take care of it as long as government doesn't f*** it up. It will either be so much cheaper to not drive yourself or so much more expensive for insurance that hardly anyone will drive. The only people that will drive on the road will be car enthusiasts. They likely will have a limited insurance policy in order to drive their classic cars on the weekends.

  • Robert||

    Their insurance will get cheaper too, because there'll be so few of them to run into each other. Self-driving vehicles will automatically not crash into them.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I'm not so certain about Bailey's belief that everyone will just rely on ordering cars as needed though. I believe car ownership will still be around, even if they become automated. Particularly for those of us who don't live in a big city. I'm interested in seeing how it all plays out though.

  • Agammamon||

    Bailey, like these other author's, seems to think everyone live downtown. And that fleet operators are going to want to have massive fleets to handle peak (rush-hour) loads while leaving large parts of their fleet under-utilized during off-hours.

    Unless self-driving cars comes with a cultural shift away from everyone starting and ending work at the same time, there's still going to be a big incentive to own a car for anyone who lives in the suburbs.

  • BYODB||

    You just accidentally (or perhaps on purpose!) drove a stake through self-driving cars as a baseline concept, in that telecommuting is the far more logical conclusion for getting rid of large amounts of vehicles on the roads. Especially during those so-called 'peak times' which is almost entirely people coming and going from work specifically.

    How 'futurists' like Bailey miss the obvious is a good question. How someone can think they're 'brilliant' for simply reinventing the locomotive is perhaps an even better question, but it's never a huge surprise when futurists argue for more centralized control over everything even when they say they're for 'more freedom'.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    This worry seems premature.

  • Hugh Akston||

    That's just what you said about the inevitable war between super-intelligent AIs and bio-engineered superfauna.

  • Rich||

    By the time 20 to 30 percent of vehicles on the roads are fully autonomous, Lutz argues, officials "will look at the accident statistics and figure out that human drivers are causing 99.9 percent of the accidents."

    That is, the accidents not caused by hacking, "computer glitches", satellite warfare, and electromagnetic interference.

  • ||

    99.9 percent of accidents involving two human drivers will be definitively caused by humans.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Given the amount of hacking that can happen against today's much less evolved cars with catastrophic consequences it seems pragmatic to take that into concern. And we're still talking about cars that are driven by humans.

  • BYODB||

    Given that autonomous vehicles essentially must communicate with one another, it should be relatively simple for something like a virus to infect every vehicle on the road almost simultaneously thus shutting down all shipping and travel within a nation. It becomes even simpler when you realize that all vehicles will likely be susceptible to the same viruses since they all will need to use the same coding.

    Seems like a great idea, even before you realize that same capability would almost certainly be 'built in' for government override reasons. Keeping you out of 'disaster zones' or repurposing your individually owned vehicle for state purposes such a hurricane evacuation. Assuming, obviously, that such a system would ever work in a disaster in the first place. Hint: They won't.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Chony Krugscum

    Folks, just sit back and let this one melt into your frontal lobe like a shot of absinthe-infused battery acid.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    They said that the brain doesn't have pain receptors. They lied.

  • Hugh Akston||

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Reminds me of the first time I heard Holy Wars... The Punishment Due.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    "In the 20th century, Cooke points out, automobiles were machines of liberation enabling people to go where they wanted when they wanted without having to tell anyone what they were up to."

    The same could pretty much be said of ships, airplanes, and trains. I used to travel on anonymous tickets and tickets issued to others all the time. Airports and train stations have only been police states for a few decades.

  • ||

    The same could pretty much be said of ships, airplanes, and trains. I used to travel on anonymous tickets and tickets issued to others all the time. Airports and train stations have only been police states for a few decades.

    Our depictions of the Old West are highly romanticized. In reality, the horses demanded to see your papers before allowing you to ride. No one under the age of 16 was allowed to ride off into the sunset.

  • CE||

    Buffalo Bill Cody got his start riding for the Pony Express when he was 15 years old.
    But now we know why he could only take the Eastbound routes.

  • Agammamon||

    officials "will look at the accident statistics and figure out that human drivers are causing 99.9 percent of the accidents."

    And we'll just point out that that is a massive improvement over the past where humans caused 100% of the accidents.

  • Agammamon||

    YOU JUST WANT PEOPLE TO DIE!

  • EscherEnigma||

    I look forward to the first time we get a "She ordered an Auto-Uber to take her kids to school, but what she found in the cab will shock you!" headline.

    Spoiler alert: the answer is "dead hookers".

  • ||

    Spoiler alert: the answer is "dead hookers".

    'dead hookers' as in 'human prostitutes that are no longer alive' or 'dead hookers' as in 'sentient robot prostitutes that are wholly aware of their role and resigned to their fate'?

  • EscherEnigma||

    Why not both?

  • Colossal Douchebag||

    Ah, an Archer fan

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Feature, not bug.

  • Jury Nullification||

    Yeah, will human surgeons be stopped because doctors cause 99.9 % of surgical deaths.

  • CE||

    Definitely.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Yep, and trying is the first step to failure in 100% of failures.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Well, yeah, probably. Once we get safer and cheaper "surgery bots", human surgeons will start having a declining market share and eventually get forced out because they're more expensive and less safe.

  • Agammamon||

    Most self-driving vehicles, he believes, will be standardized modules ordered and operated by big transportation fleet companies;

    The only way for this to work is if you live in a dense area where quick service is possible - to the point where the cost of owning a car is greater than the convenience (like right now). Sure, the convenience of ownership will be eroded by quick access to ride-share - but the costs of owning are also dropping fast.

    A not insignificant chunk of us live where its not practical to have a fleet roaming around waiting for riders nor is it practical to wait 15-30+ minutes for a car to become available. We'll *still* own our own cars - even if they're self-driving ones.

  • Delius||

    Human drivers will be banned by necessity, because humans are, by and large, self-interested pieces of garbage. No judgement intended -- being self-interested is the driving force behind the success of capitalism, and I'm including myself in the pieces of garbage.

    It's easy to predict what will happen when there are enough AVs on the road: human drivers will become more even more aggressive with their speeding, tailgating, swerving, etc., because they will know that they AVs will be able to get out of the way. In fact, it will almost certainly become a game to some, to dive into a cluster of AVs just to watch them scatter. Nothing makes a certain type of personality feel more important than watching everyone else scramble to get out of their way (an observation that goes a long way toward explaining why Trump flies around as much as he does).

    So, yes, human drivers will be banned, because our inability to focus makes us lousy drivers, the anonymity of the vehicle makes us overly aggressive, and our need for validation will make this 10x worse when we don't have to worry as much about the consequences.

  • An Owl Named Dur||

    Correct. Indeed, for the rational human driver, there will be an incentive to drive aggressively. He can force his way into traffic, etc. knowing that the AVs must defer to him.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    You make an assumption that owners of BMW AVs will not purchase firmware upgrade, illegal or not, to self enforce their higher importance on the road. And who's to say expires lanes won't turn into pricing schemes that allow your AV to speed ahead of others unwilling to pay extra. AV Net Neutrality!

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Express lanes. Effing iPhone.

  • damikesc||

    Yes, things powered by computers with no ability to override cannot POSSIBLY lead to problems.

    And I totally bet the software that runs those cars couldn't POSSIBLY be hacked.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "will look at the accident statistics and figure out that human drivers are causing 99.9 percent of the accidents."

    It's my understanding that before robot drivers were introduced, 100% of accidents were causing 100% of the accidents.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    100% of accidents were cause by human drivers. Stupid work.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Eh, some are genuine manufacturer defects, a tiny fraction are out-right sabotage.

    Don't get me wrong, a gross majority are "human error". But not 100%.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I wonder how much are unpredictable, like black ice. I don't know what information these things use, or what assumptions they make about road conditions at any given moment and so I wonder how many could be prevented by these self-driving cars.

    I seem to get the feeling they're using these Reinforcement Learning models to train these machines.

  • BYODB||

    If there's ice on the road the vehicle stops until it melts. It'll be like a modern Donner-Reed Party, and everyone loves a party!

  • JeremyR||

    No, they'll likely be banned by market forces, companies wanting to know where you are going so they can sell the data and thus making it cost prohibitive to drive on your own.

  • ||

    the fleet owner of automous vehicles would know where the car picked you up, where it let you out, and how many passengers traveled with you. The company will probably also monitor you via video to make sure you don't vandalize the module.

    Which is why Orin Kerr's notion that third party data isn't protected by the Fourth Amendment is ridiculous.

  • Ron Bailey||

    PH,t2: You are right.

  • ||

    Which is why Orin Kerr's notion that third party data isn't protected by the Fourth Amendment is ridiculous.

    This is a bit ridiculous, bordering on the notion of suing the automatic car for getting in an accident. If there were a driver in the car, video taping you, and you didn't have any cell service and asked to borrow his phone, you wouldn't assume the video to be your personal effects not any of the information on his phone or conveyed by the phone call to be 'yours'.

    If you wanted a car without being video taped, you'd tell the to turn it off or find another cab/driver. If you wanted your phone conversation to be secure, you'd use your own phone and/or a dedicated network. None of this changes if the driver happens not to be human. The 1 and 4A are not some radio-wave digital Midas Touch that makes every bit of every network you come across your personal effects.

  • ||

    You're analogy fails though. No, its not my video, because its not my device. But for my cell phone that I pay for that needs connected to a network- yes that's my effects.

    Sorry, nice try though!

  • ||

    But for my cell phone that I pay for that needs connected to a network- yes that's my effects.

    So, by virtue of buying a phone and leasing access to the network, as stipulated in the contract with your service provider, you own the network? This leap isn't that hard to make and the next leap to converting telcos to Tier II public service providers (which would hand your data over to the government anyway) isn't any harder to make.

    The fact that you and others can't seem to make these minimal leaps is sad. Don't like your cab service knowing when and where you get into one of their cabs? Get your own car or ride a bike and fuck off with your "All the information I'm tangentially involved in the generation of, I own." bullshit.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Human driving of high-end specialty vehicles will continue, Lutz predicts, but only as an elite pastime confined to country clubs and the equivalent of motorsport dude ranches. "The era of the human-driven automobile, its repair facilities, its dealerships, the media surrounding it—all will be gone in 20 years,"

    It's going to be fun to summon a robot driver to get me to a camping spot on an unmarked forest road in the mountains.

  • Ron Bailey||

    DR(P): Yes, it will.

  • DaveSs||

    I suspect autonomous vehicles will be geo-fenced to prevent them from operating anywhere that's not paved or regularly graded rock.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    That's what I suspect.

  • Longtobefree||

    Yet even more fun to monitor the conversation you have with the federal agent who show up to find out WHY you want to go to an unmarked forest road in the mountains.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Well, hunting will have been banned in all 50 states by then, and progressives will have made it prohibitively expensive to got to any state/national parks by then, so not much demand for off-road travel I suspect.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "Congress shall make no law restricting adults from driving licensed vehicles."

    Note to Cooke: It's a bad idea to mention a specific type of technology in a constitutional amendment.

  • Longtobefree||

    Yeah, otherwise some damn fool will claim 'arms' only applies to muskets, and 'free press' only applies to a single sheet, hand operated, hand type set, hand operated press.

  • EscherEnigma||

    [Cooke] urges the adoption of a constitutional amendment: "Congress shall make no law restricting adults from driving licensed vehicles."


    Congress doesn't license people to drive, the states do. Even if you fix that obvious oversight, you run into all the reasons states currently refuse to grant licenses. You know, things like "you're blind", "you have five DUI arrests in the past three months and a vehicular manslaughter case pending", "you couldn't pass a driver's test", "you don't know how to ride a motorcycle/big rig", or even the real kicker: "you can't afford the $25 licensing fee".

    Heck, lets just go back to that one in the middle: DUIs. This kind of thing makes that an un-constitutional offense.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    you run into all the reasons states currently refuse to grant licenses.

    I was thinking about this, too. The state would simply refuse to license the vehicle if it isn't robot-driven. Constitutional!

  • EscherEnigma||

    Yeah, I thought that one too. States could just only register human-driven vehicles for off-road use.

    So this "amendment" needs a fair bit of rework to make effective.

  • Vernon Depner||

    So, just get rid of drivers' licenses.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Cool story.

    If the "congress" bit was fixed, the proposed amendment would invalidate any law that stops an adult from driving. Driving recklessly, endangering others? Can't stop you. Driving drunk? Can't stop you. Driving 180 in a 25 zone? Can't stop you.

    And while you might find some libertarians that are down with that, you need more support then libertarians to pass a constitutional amendment. And not being able to ban drunk drivers? Is going to be a big problem with most people.

    So if your goal is to enshrine the "right to drive" in the Constitution, then y'all need to do better.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Nonsense. Without licenses, states could still prosecute people for driving offenses. What they couldn't do is tell you you may not drive after serving the sentence for your offense.

  • EscherEnigma||

    To remind you, the proposed amendment is

    "Congress shall make no law restricting adults from driving licensed vehicles."


    A law that restricts adults from driving licensed vehicles while drunk is a law that restricts adults from driving licensed vehicles.

    So yes. If the aim is to enshrine a "right to drive", this is a bad vehicle for that.

  • Vernon Depner||

    To remind you, you were responding to my statement, "So, just get rid of drivers' licenses.", not to a post about that amendment. And no, a law that punishes people for driving drunk is not the same as a law that says people who have driven drunk may not drive.

  • EscherEnigma||

    ... so your post wasn't responding to my post about the problems with the proposed amendment, but was, in fact, a non sequitur that had no relation to the posts before it.

    You should have just said so.

  • Longtobefree||

    Wait. What is a 'constitution'?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Something dead white slave owners wrote for wealthy property owners.

  • Paloma||

    Or "you don't have insurance" or "your seat belts don't work" or "your child needs a child seat".

  • Vernon Depner||

    It will be interesting to see how much liability insurance will cost folks who still want to drive on public roads...

    In my state it's estimated that over 20% of drivers on the road now are uninsured. In some states it's higher than that. No, high insurance costs don't stop people from driving.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Conceivably, in a world where a majority of cars are autonomous "fleet" cars, it'll be much easier for traffic cops to pick out the human drivers (possibly as easy "is that make/model autonomous Dave?" "Nah, don't think so.") Having identified a human-driven car, the cop will be able to easily run the plates through their database and see if it has insurance. I mean, they can already do that last part, but if they're not driving themselves it'll be even easier.

    So yeah, in a "fleet cars" world, enforcing insurance requirements will be easier.

  • Agammamon||

    You're assuming that the roadside cameras won't be in place looking for 'uninsured drivers' a decade before the driverless cars are.

  • BYODB||

    Both of you are assuming that in the future your vehicle simply refuses to start if it doesn't detect that it's insured.

  • BYODB||

    Sorry, that didn't make sense. Both of you should assume...

  • EscherEnigma||

    We have the tech to do that now. Interestingly enough, no one is suggesting it.

  • BlackAdder||

    This happens already!

    You are not allowed to buy a new car without anti-lock brakes, back up cameras and any number of mandated safety features. Autonomous driving cars is just a gradual increase in these safety systems and pretty soon the car will be full of so many of them that it will be driving itself and older cars will get effectively legislated out by wear and tear.

    Should meatbags be allowed to drive. I don't know. But the way tech trends are going, it seems to be inevitable that they won't due to safety concerns. As for me, they will have to get the keys of my 2005 Mazda Miata from my cold dead hands.

  • Longtobefree||

    Lying beside your cold dead dog.
    As you wish - - - - -

  • Bearded Spock||

    Any self-labeled libertarian who thinks self- driving cars are an unalloyed good is simply not paying attention. Even if the market is driving the change (pun intended).

    Removing the power of unfettered movement from the public is the ultimate wet dream of statists everywhere; it's the primary reason liberals instinctively hate the automobile and suburbia, and just as instinctively love mass transit. The fewer citizens who can up and leave at will, the better.

    I agree with Cooke, this is not a positive development when it comes to personal liberty and autonomy.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Human-driven cars are not an unalloyed good either. Nothing is an unalloyed good. There are overall good things that we accept with risks/downsides, and overall bad things that have positive effects, and many things on a spectrum in between them.

  • Tony||

    The price of that liberty and autonomy (which to my mind is absolutely trivial) is tens of thousands of deaths per year.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Tens of thousands of deaths per year is fairly trivial when compared to the overall population. I don't accept the "if it saves one life" theory of risk prevention.

  • Tony||

    But this is the "if it saves tens of thousands of lives" theory of risk prevention.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Again, tens of thousands of lives in exchange for being geofenced is a risk I'm willing to take. I drive on the roads, I too am at the same risk as everyone else. I mitigate that risk by attempting to be a better driver.

    Now, of course we don't know what a human-less driver world will look like-- technology tends to do funny things that people don't predict-- because it gets used in unexpected and novel ways.

    Maybe there's a way to save the tens of thousands of lives and our liberty won't be decreased, but actually increased. I'd be for that. But at face value, with what we know now, it's not something I'd give up just to save a few thousand lives a year on a country of 330 million people.

  • BYODB||

    How many people does the government kill every year, one might ask.

  • Vernon Depner||

    We are aware you consider liberty and autonomy trivial.

  • Tony||

    And I'm aware that libertarians believe they get to impose all manner of external risks on other people and not pay for it.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Keeping the discussion narrowly focused to the subject of driving, I'm not imposing any risk on anyone else that isn't being imposed on me. We are all in the risk pool when we get in our vehicles. I am subjected to the same risk of death or injury you are (nominally speaking). I pay for that risk through my insurance rates and increased expenses on my vehicle for safety measures.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Cite?

  • ||

    that liberty and autonomy

    How does someone go cruisin' in a fleet-operated autonomous vehicle?

  • Cyto||

    Cruising was replaced by Tinder a while back.

  • ||

    This sure dates me.

  • Agammamon||

    Tony|1.2.18 @ 5:42PM|#

    The price of that liberty and autonomy (which to my mind is absolutely trivial) is tens of thousands of deaths per year.


    Here we go ladies and gentlemen - the very sort of person Bearded Spock was talking about.

  • CE||

    But human-carrying drones with autopilot will more than make up for it. Some Chinese company already showed one at CES.

  • Johnny Hit n Run Paulene||

    +1 Red Barchetta (A.K.A 'A Nice Morning Drive')

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    "Congress shall make no law restricting adults from driving licensed vehicles."

    Cooke must know how easy it would be to get around this amendment. It's a hole big enough to drive an automated truck through.

  • CE||

    Why should our vehicles have to be licensed? I told you guys to vote for Badnarik.

    And there's already a Constitutional Amendment that prevents Congress from banning driving, the 10th:

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    Of course, states like California could still ban driving, but California doesn't even ban motorcycles from driving between cars on the highway now.

  • VinniUSMC||

    "Of course, states like California could still ban driving, but California doesn't even ban motorcycles from driving between cars on the highway now."

    That was my favorite part about living and riding in California. I'm still not sure how nanny state California manages to continue to be the only state to allow lane-splitting though.

  • Tony||

    I imagine hobbyist driving won't go away any time soon, but it would seem unfair to allow them on normal roads while everyone else is choosing the safe route. Perhaps we'll replace all the decaying shopping malls and drive-in theaters with driving tracks, for which there might be increased demand.

  • Johnny Hit n Run Paulene||

    Excellent use of the Eminent Domain process, don't you agree Tony?

  • ||

    I imagine hobbyist driving won't go away any time soon, but it would seem unfair to allow them on normal roads while everyone else is choosing the safe route.

    What exactly is unfair about it? Assuming there's not some disparity in classic vs. autonomous vehicle taxation, you've both paid the same amount for the same stretch of roadway. You're, presumably, using it at a higher rate of speed, more safely, and in a manner more enjoyable for you. It's the very crux of your oxymoronic socialism, everybody could contribute precisely equally and if even one person draws out in a manner that isn't 100% consistent with the way you draw it's unfair, without regard to any actual difference in cost, risk, or value. It's like saying people who drive without wearing seat belts aren't being fair.

  • Tony||

    I had in mind the risk traditional motorists would pose to those around them who have opted for the more advanced and safer technology. I'm okay with people risking their own life and limb.

  • EscherEnigma||

    What exactly is unfair about it?
    What's unfair about DUI laws?

    I don't mean to be unkindly flip, but that's what it's (going to) come down to. On one side, you'll have folks saying they're tax-payers just like everyone else, they have a right to drive when and how they ant and no one should be stopping them. On the other, you'll have people holding up pictures of dead children and white crosses alongside the highway.

    In short, if it ends up a legislative matter rather then a market decision, it'll be that it's not "fair" for you to selfishly put everyone at risk for your own desires.

    You may not like that it'll be phrased that way, but there you have it. You need to figure out how to argue against pictures of dead kids and white wooden crosses.

  • Tony||

    I only endorse this move if it means we can drink before and during our self-driving car trips.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Drinking involves risk.

  • Tony||

    You sure are pushing the easily refuted "all or nothing" argument.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    How many tens of thousands of people die from alcohol-related fatalities? Or are we ok with a certain amount of risk in exchange for liberty?

  • EscherEnigma||

    Or are we ok with a certain amount of risk in exchange for liberty?
    Generally speaking, the rule of thumb is that "personal risk for personal liberty" is okay, while "communal risk for personal liberty" is not.

    So drinking? Go for it. Drinking and driving? Restricted?

  • Paloma||

    Can people walk or jog down the middle of the road? How about rickshaws? Donkey carts? I can see highways reserved for autonomous vehicles in the future as much as they are for automobiles now.

  • Sevo||

    "...hobbyist driving..."
    I'm sure our resident lefty shitbag defines this as anything he has not approved in advance.

    Please include three copies of your request form 5 days in advance and we will make every attempt to examine them to see what additional information we need.
    Thank you,
    Your Driving Approval Agency

  • Jima||

    Geolocational and Privacy Surveillance act... ? How about we outlaw the storage of all that data after 10 days or so unless we proactively approve it's longer term storage? Then we don't need to worry about it, because it'll be gone. If it's not, then it's in violation of the law and we know who to sue for keeping it. Nobody but the government needs to know where the hell we've been 45 days ago at 4:35pm or some such BS. Make it illegal to store it longer term if you want to pass another law the government can ignore.

  • Devastator||

    In the USA I doubt it will happen for a very long time, if ever, probably in socialist countries like Canada, France, maybe even England it will require a professional drivers license with lots of training no doubt and be limited to trucking or other things like public transport. I think China will also definitely outlaw driving as it's in their nature.

  • Longtobefree||

    Not going to happen.
    After the revolution, there will be plenty of open space on roads for the survivors to race around all over the place without computers of any kind. The EMP will get all the computers.
    And all programmers (along with the lawyers) will be shot. No programmers, no government oversight.

  • sarcasmic||

    Government won't ban driving. No one would stand for that.

    No, they'll ban the sale of non-autonomous vehicles. To protect us. Then they'll ban the sale of parts, or make it a crime to repair a non-approved vehicle.

    Commerce. They'll do it with the commerce clause.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Then they'll ban the sale of parts, or make it a crime to repair a non-approved vehicle.

    +1 Ralph Nader.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Even if they do ban humans driving, I will be mailing out my "drive from the back seat kit" for only $19.99

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    A true entrepreneur.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    "Will the Government Ban Human Driving ?"
    BestUsedCarSales hardest hit.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Nah, don't worry. I have so many lobbyists that they'll probably make me the only legal source of car purchases nation wide.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    ...When you pry the steering wheel from my cold, dead hands.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Cooke has a point. Still the fact is that our robocar travels will add only a bit more to the copious data exhaust we already leave in our wakes as we wander through the world using our credit cards, Apple Pay, ride-hailing services, E-Z passes, and mobile telephones. Protecting our privacy from government snooping will take far more than guaranteeing folks the right to drive themselves."

    Weak sauce, seven ways to Sunday.

    The instances you've listed are voluntary activity. The question of whether cars will be banned from the highway isn't a question of whether people will be allowed to give up driving themselves willingly. It's about whether those who won't want to give it up willingly will be forced to do so against their will.

    You're comparing apples to coercion.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "In any case, most folks will probably switch voluntarily to hiring self-driving vehicles on demand—not just because they're safer, but because using them is projected to cost as much as 75 percent less than owning a car.

    Again, forcing some people to give up the ability to drive themselves against their will isn't acceptable because most people won't need to be forced to do so.

    Your utilitarianism has gotten the best of you.

    Government bureaucrats can only make better choices for individuals than individuals can for themselves if 1) you ignore all qualitative criteria or 2) share the same qualitative preferences as the bureaucrats.

    If safety is always your primary concern, see a psychiatrist about your paranoia or agoraphobia but leave the rest of us out of it. Sane individuals make rational compromises in regards to their safety every day.

    Riding motorcycles or driving yourself isn't irrational--not even if it involves compromising your safety. When any given activity involves individuals compromising their safety, that certainly doesn't make it irrational and it doesn't justify using the coercive power of government to stop people from doing it. See the drug war and Prohibition for utilitarian examples--not that those should be necessary. I prefer the freedom to make choices for myself for qualitative reasons, and utilitarians have never been able to properly account for qualitative criteria.

  • Ken Shultz||

    In response to the suggestion that using the coercive power of government to stop people from driving themselves because of the negative impact human drivers might have on other people, the problem is that there are few things we can do that don't negatively impact other people in some way.

    Growing wheat on your own property for your own consumption rather than buying it on the market hurts wheat growers in other states. I'm trying to think of anything you can do that isn't harmful to someone else in some way . . .

    If we were only free to do those things that don't harm anyone else, we might not be free to do anything. The correct formulation is that we should be free to do anything that doesn't violate someone's rights--and for those of you who are confused about what that means, rights are choices . . .

    Property rights are the right to choose who uses an object, how it's used, etc. Gun rights aren't the right to indiscriminately shoot people; they're the right to choose to own (and carry) a gun. If you choose to use your property, your gun, your speech, your car, your motorcycle to violate someone's rights (see mens rea), then the government has an obligation to step in and protect other people's rights. Apart from that, the government has no business interfering in people making choices for themselves.

    The government using its coercive power to force people who've violated no one's rights to do things against their will is called "injustice".

  • Sarpanitum||

    You're right that it will be the market that "bans" driving by making it prohibitively expensive to insure private vehicles, which will leave it to an ever dwindling number of rich but aging enthusiasts. Self driving cars is already a topic that's causing extreme statements like these. I've already heard that we don't have to build new road capacity or new parking because of "self driving cars." When I point out that these cars will have to have roads to drive on and places to park when they aren't in use people get upset that I'm messing with their utopian vision.

  • BikeRider||

    What will the age requirements be for self-driving cars? When human drivers are banned and the cars are really in charge, then it would make sense to let children under 16 use an app to call up a car and get a ride to school or wherever. That would take a lot of stress off of parents who have kids in a bunch of activities.

    On the other hand, our nanny state seems to be pushing age-of-responsibility older and older. I think Illinois now requires kids to be something like 14 before they can be left alone. If the government gets involved in regulating the use of self-driving cars, be prepared for an age requirement of 18 regardless of what the parents want.

  • Episteme||

    At which point, I'll end up driving around in a horse-drawn chariot, shouting "you'll never take me alive, coppers!" as I blow by the EZ Pass...

  • NoVaNick||

    I am not worried in the least about self-driving cars becoming mandatory. For one thing, as Frank Zappa said, "Communism doesn't work because people like to own stuff" and a car is an expression of identity for many, so too is the desire to go where one wants when one wants. Second, if anyone has tried to use Siri or any similar apps, they are better at getting you lost than getting you to your destination. Imagine a scenario where a young woman takes a hired AV home from a bar and it drops her on the wrong block and she is assaulted or much worse.
    AVs are another progtard masturbation fantasy, that fortunately will never really come to be.

  • See.More||

    Will government ban human driving? Probably, but it won't be popular. People like to "nest" and customize their space. This won't be possible in a summon-on-demand transportation model.

  • Liberty Lover||

    Not everyone has a cell phone. The government needs to know everywhere you go, collect that data and keep it forever. This is a good plan, all in the name of "safety". Will we need automated bicycles soon? What about automated motorcycles? How will we track pedestrians? Maybe it would just be easier to chip all people.

  • Danathar||

    It will happen on it's own. As soon as insurance companies get stats that say driverless vehicles are safer/less prone to accident than ones with drivers then the rates will go up.

  • Roy Batty||

    And it's actually worse than that because eventually after banning human drivers, the government will also control the off-on switches of self-driving vehicles, will be able to decide who can go where and when, can easily enforce curfews (martial law), or as the willing statists in the media have euphemistically tagged martial law (lockdowns).

    There's so many socialist, statists, collectivist zombies among the youth that support not only banning human driving cars, but banning car ownership all together. The only alternative to this statists slavery state I see is civil war.

  • prediksifajar||

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