thirdcrank wrote:Autonomous vehicles are coming to a dealership near you sooner than you think.
Far worse than that. SEMI-autonomous vehicles are already here and as a result, many drivers are essentially "switching off" at the wheel, assuming the car will do everything for them.
Autonomous (as in fully-automated robotic cars that require nothing more than an end point programming in) are decades off being used on normal public roads. They just don't work with a random mix of non-computer controlled entities around them. I can see the first introduction being an autonomous lane on motorways but the UK road infrastructure at the moment in towns and cities simply won't support full auto. Or, to put it more bluntly, if you threw hundreds of billions at it, you could get it close but for no discernible benefit.
There's a further problem. Do you really think that a road full of autonomous vehicles are going to give you 1.5m passing space, only ever drive at the speed limit, never cut you up? Rubbish. The easier option is to ban bicycles because otherwise you could play all sorts of games with auto-cars like swerving in front of them to force them to slam on the brakes (same with pedestrians to be honest).
Regarding High Performance Cars though - rather than a blanket ban on what someone deems as HP (measured on what - bhp, 0-60 time...?) there are considerably greater arguments for a "Public Roads Mode" which prevents over-speeding by more than (say) 20%. But then car manufacturers (and the buying public) have entirely the wrong frame of mind other than when NCAP Safety Ratings were brought in and manufacturers could (and did) make adverts showing how great their cars where when you piled it into a motorway barrier.
It would be a simple step to make unbreakable cars using fingerprint or eye / face recognition but instead they've gone the other way with Keyless Entry and Keyless Start. It would be simple to link the engine start to the insurance (as it would be to have ANPR cameras at all fuel stations - no insurance / tax / MOT = no unlock of the pump). Log into the car with your fingerprint, car checks who you are and if you have a licence / insurance. It would be simple to mandate black box and dashcam in every car, auto-download that to the insurance and police at a crash and job done for investigation. A mandatory re-test every few years would also be in order - in no other area is someone allowed to qualify in a single exam and then carry on for potentially 50 years with no retest.
It would also be simple to re-write the laws to actually ensure that dangerous drivers were dealt with and, in conjunction with some of the measures above, ensure that they don't just walk out of court and climb into another car. Doing that would vastly improve safety on the roads (as well as resulting in a LOT less traffic!) and it's less of a blunt instrument of simply saying "this car has 300bhp, it's now banned".