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Who will be able to afford fully autonomous vehicles

Lindsey Chappel, Mid-South bureau chief for Automotive News, posted the below noted blog.  In his blog Lindsey notes that a panel of Industry experts discussed the topic of fully autonomous vehicles in Traverse City at the Management Briefing Seminar. 

Simply put, it is all uphill.  Citing an April study conducted by the Alliance of Automotibe Manufacturers, Alliance CEO Mitch Bainwol indicates that 42% of men surveyed think that sort of technology is a bad idea.  And nearly a quarter think autonomous vehicles should be banned altogether.

…and a third think auto makers and their software suppliers should bear the legal responsibility for accidents.

80% are concerned about hackers according to Bjorn Giesler project lead from Audi AGs Piloted Driving program.  He went further to say that the industry was not doing a good job of addressing security concerns. 

Scott Winchip, Rober Bosch LLC’s regional president for chassis systems control indicated there are technology challenges, such as mapping vehicle location to inches, rather than feet!.

Lindsey also asks the question…What happens when an autonomous vehciles control systems clicks off, giving control back to the driver?  Remember everyone talking about designing autonomous vehicles says the driver has complete override capability and can take control at any time.

It seems to me that the more autnomous the vehicles operation is, the more detached the driver is likely to be…meaning he or she cannot assume immediate responsibility for the vehcile operation.  No way!

So that brings me back to the title of this blog…who will be able to afford fully autonmous vehicles?  We have to have significantly advanced and secure technology and this extends to the driving infrastructure. (Cost!)  We have to have redundant systems, they simply cannot fail…there has to be a back-up or back-ups that do not include the detached driver.  As I recall the Sapce Shuttle had five such systems.  (Cost again!)  And finally, no one believes that the liability burden will be covered by the vehcile and software manufacturers, at least not without a pass through to the vehicle owner…(Yet more cost!)

So really…who will be able to afford this technology?   Maybe another question is in order…Can manufacturers afford to invest in technology at this price based on questionable demand?

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