Tesla and the Self Driving Truck Dilemma
Tesla is in all of the headlines lately. And for more than just launching a car on the way to Mars. Elon Musk and his company wants to take over the car industry with bold ideas. Tesla’s top experiment is self driving cars. As of today, it is unclear whether the company can actually pull it off.
However, what is clearer are the inherent risks of the project. Self driving cars are among the riskiest things going technologically. Google the term self driving car and the results show up with “accident” as one of the top ones. USA Today reported on the fact that new self driving trucks will likely have the ability to choose who would die in an accident. Human nature is fallible enough. Imagine putting the life of your family in the hands of a number of circuits.
What is less obvious is the companies that will adopt the technology. One Tesla semi comes with a 300 mile range for $150k and another with a 500 mile range for $180,000. Ouch. Tesla claims it will start production in 2019 and several big corporations have them on pre-order, including Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, Sysco, UPS, and even Wal Mart.
A Risk Foreseen With Big Rigs?
Each of the companies above are making a bet on tech that isn’t out of its infancy. Worse yet, they are a danger as they are currently constructed. Self driving car tech is likely decades away from fluency, not just a year or so. Furthermore, this over confidence is likely a fatal flaw in road safety and these companies’ plans.
However, poor ideas haven’t stopped people before. It appears that they will proceed. The numbers above represent just a fraction of these companies’ overall fleets. However, they may be a trend that is difficult to reverse once started. Once these vehicles are on the road they could represent a large shift away from the safety of motor vehicle travel we’ve grown accustomed to and toward something much less predictable.