Dean Pomerleau

Thanks for the comeback. Probably I’m just more skeptical about various companies’ abilities to skip the inevitable than you are. Uber and Tesla have grand plans, but the everyday reality of autonomous cars will probably more closely mimic what we have today — cars simply get us from one destination to the next, and we pay little or no attention to them. Other than perhaps color, and cup holders.

So … the roads will be filled with cars that all look more or less the same, cup holders will be more or less standardized, almost no one will special order a car that costs more than the minimum necessary for them to get their transportation job done. Remember Braniff?Tried to woo customers with planes that were painted differently. Didn’t work. People just wanted to get from A to B.

Your Tesla will not be called for, because there is always going to be another Tesla that’s closer to the caller, and probably cheaper, because that’s what competition does. Empty Teslas will be somewhat rare (and rock throwers won’t be able to predict their arrival, rock throwing will be very boring, not to mention unrewarding).

The competition between ‘you recognition’ AI and rock throwers’ ‘keep me anonymous’ AI will be won by the people with the most money. Sure — some daring bank robbers will hire the best hackers and defeat the latest technology, but not vandals who aren’t even getting paid to vandalize. Sort of the ‘top 1% ‘of the criminal world kind of thing. Like spam, and spam filters.

I’m a candidate for county sheriff. A top question is — what are you going to do about drunk driving? Hmm … how about eliminate drivers?

I proposed to the Iowa legislature last year a simple, free change in state law that could have gotten us big positive publicity. No speed limits for autonomous vehicles. It’s a no brainer — they aren’t humans, they won’t drive faster than conditions allow. Not a single member of the legislature figured that out. Very depressing.