December 6, 2013

I, I want you-oo-oo, aut-on-o-my! So sang Pete Shelley, of Buzzcocks fame, back in the day. And, let’s face it, who wouldn’t fancy a bit of autonomy?!

Not the cars we drive, that’s for sure! They’ve bitterly resented our maladroit attempts to control and direct them for many years now.

And the good news is that, in the very near future, they will finally be free to drive themselves, with minimal interference from their organically malodorous and endlessly fallible human occupants.

Better still, this is really good news for insurance companies, as it will make it virtually impossible for us to carry on driving into things at high speed, or otherwise, and thus reduce to virtually nil the likelihood of accident related claims arising.

Dave “Cosy” Powell of the Lloyd’s Market Association declared this week that ‘adaptive steering and braking technology’ will “permanently change the shape of exposure for motor insurers” over the next decade.

Motor insurance, he predicted, will in future assume something of the character of catastrophe cover, rather than being the high-frequency, low-value product it is today.

The bad news is that the human-overriding cars of tomorrow will be so laden with ‘expensive cameras and sensors’ that, in the unlikely event they should be damaged (e.g. by the wrong kind of golf-ball-sized hailstones), they will cost a shedload to fix.

“We will see a future motoring experience dominated by autonomous driving,” Dave promised cars up and down the land. “AEB and adaptive cruise control is already available on many current models, and auto-steering is arriving in the next few years,” he proclaimed.

Soon human beings will be able to text, chat, drop chips and burger fat into their laps, and watch small screen sports and adult entertainment to their hearts’ content whilst at the wheel, and no possible harm can come of it!

Just a beautiful fantasy? Maybe not!

riseoftherobots


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