When thinking about autonomous cars there are two important issues. The first, as we discussed at UMTRI, is the issue of who is accountable when something goes wrong. The second issue is the fact that many people are simply too scared of robots to ever be comfortable with an autonomous car.
At UMTRI, they told us that many companies have the capabilities to create an autonomous car that would be very functional. However, if something were to go wrong, it would cause a lot of lost faith in the company. There would also be the question of who is legally responsible for crashes and other issues with other people or vehicles. There wouldn’t be a driver in control of the car, so it would be hard to blame the owner. However, it is also likely that manufacturers would be unlikely to release an autonomous car if they knew they would be responsible for all accidents.
The other issue, which could possibly end up being equally important, is the fear that many people have of robotic technology taking too much control in our lives. Throughout the past, many forms of media have shown post apocalyptic warnings of the down sides to technology, creating a relatively wide spread fear of too much technology. People fear loosing self reliance and skill, and, in the end, this could be more likely to prevent the spread of autonomous cars.