Autonomous Vehicles : 5 questions we need to start asking
James Pelly
2663

Okay, this is going to be a bit of a rant, and one reasonable response to my rant would be “we can do more than one thing at a time”. But.

Autonomous car is the sort of thing individualistic USAians of privilege would think up and promote. Why? That way you can buzz around on your own, and avoid rubbing shoulders with those others who have to take public transit.

How much will this sort of thing cost, how accessible will it be?

Oh, it should be reasonable enough for those of us who run around NYC in taxis or complain about traffic on the west side of LA. Do you know how much time, effort, and money has gone into blocking LA metro from the Westside and Santa Monica? Not to mention misinformation about potential gas explosions. Our sort of people should certainly have autonomous cars.

I have a home in Altadena, in Los Angeles (sort of), but spend 8 months a year in Korea (please, please, don’t ask if north or south). Public transportation here is excellent, from local buses, hailable taxis (not Uber or Lyft, but kakao taxi, used by around 95% of Korean cabbies) from actual cab companies, subways or monorails or light rail serving all the major and some minor cities, and long haul bullet trains (300 kmh is very cool). Koreans aren’t the uptight individualists USAians are, and are willing to share moving space with others who might not be the same social class or ethnicity. You’ll get dirty looks and occasionally a scolding for bad manners, but the whole system works, is integrated, and the cost is very reasonable. Private cars are at most a convenience, and in Seoul a downright inconvenience.

And the US wants self-driving cars.