It’s good to see people being proactive for a change instead of the status quo reactive.
Specifically, I mean Steven Szakaly, NADA’s chief economist, saying that autonomous vehicles need frequent inspections to ensure that the software is working properly.
This is not a bad idea.
Of course, this probably benefits the dealers NADA represents, but the logic is sound. I appreciate Mr. Szakaly’s proactive approach. Since all the self-driver tech pushers insist that autonomous drive vehicles will be a reality by 2020, somebody has to be thinking about keeping the vehicle systems operational with preventative maintenance. Why?
Because 2020 is only three and a half years away, which is just around the corner relatively speaking, and the bugs haven’t all been worked out yet.
It seems that companies and our government are so intent on getting the cars on the road, they haven’t given much thought to safety and regulations until after the fact, like when a car hits a bus or a semi-truck.
Maybe I’m wrong. But that’s how it seems.
There’s just a couple of things about this inspection idea that trouble me. First, dealers rely on manufacturers and, well, thinking back to the recall epidemic of the last few years — I hate to say it — but manufacturers haven’t exactly been the picture of proactivity and responsibility to the consumer. That sounds harsh, it does, I know, but just think about all the buried emails and complaints and scandals.
The other thing is this. People don’t take care of their vehicles now. Let’s be honest. People don’t. And that is a huge problem since preventative maintenance is key to vehicle safety.
That rings true for the current vehicles and will be especially important to autonomous vehicles.
Think about it. How many people ignore recall notices? Or ignore basic maintenance like oil changes and checking tires. A lot. So putting autonomous drive vehicles on a mandatory inspection timeline doesn’t seem like it could work based solely on the responsibility, or lack thereof, of some vehicles.
And the irony is too much to ignore. We are building vehicles that will eliminate the supposed most dangerous part of a vehicle, the human operator, but said vehicle will still require that dangerous human to bring the vehicle in to be inspected and serviced at regular intervals.
So much for self-drivers making lives easier, huh?
In a somewhat news of the weird but also cool but weird there’s this from China: The traffic straddling bus.
This is a really cool concept. BUT. I’ve seen the crazy traffic in China, and well, I am not so confident that this isn’t a disaster waiting to happen. I hope this is built of titanium or something.
But what do you think?
Lauren Fix, The Car Coach® is a nationally recognized automotive expert, media guest, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host. Post your comments on Twitter: @LaurenFix or on her Facebook Page. To read more of her blogs, CLICK HERE NOW.
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