Robot overlords will send driverless cars to deliver pizza to your panopticon cubby

Sebastian Anthony reports for arstechnica on the quiet capitulation of another democratic institution (highways!) to our corporate AI paymasters.

The US government has cleared the way for Google to create a self-driving car that doesn’t also have a human driver inside the vehicle that can take over if necessary. In this setup, the autonomous driving software itself would be the vehicle’s legal “driver”; none of the human passengers would require a driving licence.

See you in traffic court … software!


The innovation isn’t bothersome. It’s the affordable transportation system fail.

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Thank fsm. I love driving, buy hate driving for a commute. I want to cars, a self driver for going back and forth to work, and something like an Ariel Atom or a muscle car for the weekends (manual transmission of course).

The self driving car will need bench back seats so I can take naps. Sweet, lovely naps.


I want Eliza to drive my car so I can process my feelings about isolation and the lack of trains.


I’m on a “like” timeout, so +1. I think the biggest failing in so called futurists assumptions about self driving cars is ignoring the fact that people actually like to drive.


I’m convinced that a lot of driving is gonna go the way of, well, manual transmissions. And I do wish we in the US had even decent mass transit (…hyperloop?). But different modes of transport have their place. I walk to my local convenience store, bike to my grocery store, and drive out of necessity to work. Then I road trip on weekends for fun.

And a self driving car for work would be more egalitarian to car pool with. Hell, what about self driving carpool vans? Everyone buys a lease or share in the autovan, done and done.


I did. Until I moved to Seattle.

Chucking a car around twisty roads in the Peak District is fun. Sitting in queues on the 99 viaduct isn’t.

I’d be delighted to get a pod car to work.


I think self driving cars have their place. I also think there are always going to be people who want to throw it in manual and flog it around in the mountains.


There a road in Ireland (the N60 I think?) that’s my favorite road in the world. The speed limit is only like 60kph, but I DARE you to even try to get that quick. I drove it in a tiny Nissan micra, right hand drive manual, and it was one of the funnest drives ever. I encountered two cars on that road, and none ever got over 30, it was that windy. (They pulled over politely and let me by).

It’s almost like Ireland’s speed limit isn’t the reasonable speed, but literally the speed limit.


Having to cross the ship canal or the lake just sucks. Sadly I have to do both at least it isn’t awful if I get out of the house before 7am.

I would so love to take a bus but that adds an hour commute time each way and costs 3x my fuel expenditure.


I’ve never driven in Ireland, but I do enjoy mountain roads. Rock climbing and hiking destinations have provoked me to coax small front wheel drive cars up more than one path that was marked as 4 wheel drive only.

I could tell stories of the bad things I did to a VW Jetta, on dirt roads in the Rockies, while hunting down wireless backhaul links. (I think the statute of limitations is up at this point.)


Yeah, I’ve had to go to the other office in Bellevue a couple of times. F that.


It’s the afternoon commute that is just awful. Crawl across i90 and crawl north on i5 at least this week is nice so I can take the scooter and use the diamond lanes. Why is there so much more traffic in the afternoon?


I will never, ever buy a used car that was a rental. Cause I know what I do to rentals.

I actually had this conversation with a Hertz manager when I failed to get a four wheel drive for the Apache Trail.

Me: “well, I guess since you don’t have the car I booked, I’m not doing the Apache Trail today”.
Him: " (bewildered)… You know you aren’t allowed to take our cars off road, right?"
Me: “Yeah, I wasn’t gonna tell ya. Just like I didn’t tell ya when I floated a Toureg across a small impromptu river”

He didn’t know if I was joking or not. I was not joking :smiling_imp:


It’s well know that a rental Altima is the best off-road vehicle ever made.


We are naughty.


After I visited NY for the first time, I could not believe that I had to go back west and get back in a car to leave a little grid of housing units to sit in traffic to reach another little grid of designated work locations — and pay to pollute the air all along the way, every day.

No one is about to lose their government-subsidized cars. I prefer a manual transmission too.

But what about some passenger trains?

I blame the late, lost Hunter Thompson and his esteemed counsel, Mr. Oscar Acosta.


The basic problem with US rail… Well for passenger rail, is you can really only optimize tracks for commercial or passenger. Not both. And what most lines that aren’t light rail do is optimize for commercial traffic. I have a friend that is a rail engineer, I should get more specifics.

Caltrain in CA is quite good, but you still need some way to Hub and Spoke it. Some people bike, some drive, some walk if they can. Honestly I think denser urban areas (yes, like NYC, Tokyo, and not LA or the bay area) are the answer. That way you can largely ditch cars and use rail for the long commutes. But that’s like a hundred year plan. Autonomous vans and buses are like a bridge loan.


Spite. Jeff Bezos is hiring 20,000 people to clog up the roads because he’s upset that he didn’t get the first contract for resupplying the ISS AND he didn’t get the first VTO/L first stage rocket.


Where’s my can-do attitude? We’re talking like a bunch of can-don’ts. Or canned donuts. Whatever.

We need our passenger train and mass-transit options.