"Denoting or performed by a device capable of operating without direct human control"


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So, you say you’ve heard about autonomous cars — also referred to as driverless cars or self-driving cars — and you are shaking your head and wondering what it’s all about. Or maybe you haven’t heard about them. Either way, they are coming! It’s like a snowball rolling downhill. It’s not going to stop or turn around and go back. Those of us who like to drive are going to be mixing it up in our regular, old-fashioned cars with the new vehicles flooding onto the roads in ever-increasing numbers. You may be saying to yourself, “Not me! I like driving. I like to be in control.” That’s a common response and very understandable. Many of us have been driving successfully for years. We want to keep it that way. Our freedom to drive, the pleasurable sensation of motion and power are attractive. But, as I pointed out, change is coming and we will all be part of it.


In these blogs, I’ll talk about some of the issues, some of the questions, and the evolving technologies involved. My focus is to give you information you can use. But keep in mind that this is an ever-changing, on-going change in our lives, and many issues and questions have yet to be answered. Regulations will change, laws will change, and those of us who drive will have to change. Remember the introduction of the cellphone? The first wireless phone was as big as a brick. It had a big antenna and a cumbersome battery pack. The cost was a dollar or two per minute. There were few regulations and little understanding of where we were going with this new technology. Now look what we have! It fits in a shirt pocket and connects us to the entire world. I regularly message friends in China. And now there are many regulations and too many problems which we have trouble managing. Now there are laws. Autonomous cars will be like that. We currently have only a vague understanding about where we are headed. Over time, these issues will play out, but for now there are more questions than answers.


These blogs will discuss some of the issues. Some information will be factual, just “what is.” But mixed in will be opinions, mine and those of many writers looking at the situation and presenting their own opinions. Time will sort all this out. Here are some of the ideas and questions that will be addressed here. The list is not complete. As I read and learn, I will pass on to you what I discover. Keep your attention here, and I promise you will be better informed. So . . .


  • How did we get into this situation anyway? Why not leave things as they are.

  • Are there self-driving cars now on the road or is this science-fiction for the future?

  • If they are out there, can I buy one?

  • What if I like current cars. Will I always be able to buy one?

  • How is this going to work, mixing driverless cars with what is currently on the roads?

  • Are they safe?

  • What if autonomous cars malfunction? After all, they are just machines.

  • Who is responsible if someone is hurt?

  • Will anyone need insurance to ride in an autonomous car?

  • Some say 80-90% of collusions can be prevented. How will this change businesses like auto-body shops and auto dealerships?

  • Will everyone own a driverless car? Some people say that with Lyft and Uber and many other services like these, we won’t need cars.

  • If a lot of people don’t need cars, what about tax bases in towns? Will property taxes be impacted? Will taxes on these properties go up to compensate?

  • I hear many cars will be electric, not gas-driven. What will gas stations do?

  • If a lot of people are not buying gas for their cars, how will this affect prices of other petroleum products?

  • What will insurance companies do if lots of people don’t need to buy car insurance?

  • We are a mobile society. How will autonomous vehicles impact businesses that depend on cars? Like taxi companies, for example.

  • What about other vehicles like long-haul truckers? Will they be self-driving? Is that safe?

  • Will the weather affect driverless cars?

  • What about parking garages, auto-part supply stores, driving schools? How will they manage?

  • Will public transportation be driverless?

  • What if I live in the country rather than the city?


This is just a short list of potential questions. I’ll try to answer some of them, or at least give my opinions and those of others. There is little that is certain. The only real certainty is that autonomous, driverless, self-driving cars are coming!