The Future of Driving
This chapter discusses some of the issues surrounding the development of driver-assistance systems and "driverless" vehicles. Semi-autonomous vehicles like Brown's Tesla use "driver-assistance" systems to relieve the driver of most of the "operational"-level demands of driving. The driver has to pay little or no attention to accelerating, braking and steering. The primary argument for introducing semi-autonomous systems is that they will lessen the processing demands on the driver. Excessive trust is obviously undesirable, leading to uncritical reliance on the technology, misuse and possibly accidents like Joshua Brown's. Excessive distrust means drivers won't use the system even when they could do so safely. The driver's degree of trust needs to be accurately calibrated to the system's objective level of reliability, as no system is foolproof. The technology to date has largely focused on vehicle control. By eliminating human error, the major cause of road accidents, automated vehicles have the potential to greatly improve road safety.