Why Driverless Cars Will Be The Next Battlefield In The Culture War
James Pethokoukis, American Enterprise Institute
Investors and companies globally have sunk nearly $100 billion into developing self-driving vehicles over the past few years. And with good reason: Self-driving cars are real, they’re going to be spectacular, and they’re going to happen a lot sooner than you think.
Just last week, Waymo, the driverless car subsidiary of Google-parent Alphabet, announced it would begin a robo-taxi service in Phoenix. The city has been a hotbed of autonomous vehicle testing due to its regulatory friendliness and predictably pleasant weather.
Of course this doesn’t mean highways will soon be filled with swarming packs of autonomous vehicles zooming along at 80 miles per hour, just inches from each other’s bumper. It’s one thing to be able to purchase a fully autonomous car (maybe within a few years) that works in certain places under certain conditions; it’s quite another for many or most cars on the road to be driverless (maybe a few decades) anywhere, anytime. One recent gone-viral prediction comes from Bob Lutz, a former top executive and design guru at General Motors. In an essay for Automotive News, Lutz wrote that “in 15 to 20 years — at the latest — human-driven vehicles will be legislated off the highways.”