The Spectacle Blog

My Opponent Supports Robot Cars!

By on 8.15.12 | 11:30AM

This, via the Atlantic, is probably a first in campaign history. In a Florida state senate race, a new ad charges that, essentially, a statehouse incumbent vying for the seat cares more about robots than people.

"Technology is great. But driverless cars?!?!" an elderly voice exclaims as a totally empty vehicle runs a stop sign in front of an old woman with a walker. "Is this really a priority for our state? Well it was a priority for Jeff Brandes."

On this one, count me with Mr. Brandes.

Humans are awful, awful drivers. We crash cars at a rate of about 11 million per year. And no wonder: We get distracted, we flip the radio... I'm actually writing this post on my iPhone as I drive to the office. (Just kidding.)

Self-driving cars have the potential to make the roads much safer; to decrease congestion; to increase mobility for the disabled and elderly. Indeed, the Atlantic quotes Brandes' reaction to the attack: "I thought [the ad] was a little bit bizarre. It's clearly trying to scare seniors, even though seniors might benefit the most from this technology."

From what I understand, perhaps the largest barrier to the technology is the liability question. How do you insure a self-driving car? If one does crash, who's at fault?

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