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Are driverless cars and pilotless aircraft feasible in the mass market? And is the transportation industry likely to make the shift?

In recent years, we've seen the vehicles become more and more autonomous. Most planes can fly themselves, only requiring occasional input from pilots. At the same time, cars are gaining features like adaptive cruise control and automated parking. However, are entirely autonomous commercial airliners and cars viable for the mass market?
The factors that contribute to whether autonomous vehicles will become commonplace or not aren't just limited to technology. Legal, social, and economic issues should also be considered. For example, autonomous cars can result in families only needing one car instead of two or three, as the car could just return home after dropping someone off at school or at work. This could potentially discourage manufacturers as it results in a decreased amount of sales in their product.

So, are driverless cars and pilotless aircraft viable in the mass market? And is the automobile/aircraft industry likely to make the shift?

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  • May 3 2013: This is a great idea for some time in the future. At present, we are not set up , technologically or even on a personal level, to deal with the issues that might be associate with not driving.
    • May 4 2013: Driverless cars are now legal in the state of California. Ready or not, the future will be arriving very soon.
      • May 4 2013: Well, there you go.

        I would point out the obvious. Just because it is "legal" doesn't mean it is a reality or that we are ready for it.

        Imagine the chaos that ensues when a driverless car hits someone or something. Or, more likely, the challenge faced with the drivers in the cars who are trying drive and don't know what to do with the vehicle that has no driver. The roads may or may not be ready for the carpool lane and the "driverless" car lane.

        It will be interesting to watch the development of this.
  • May 3 2013: Someone will start selling driverless cars and they will sell like crazy.

    For starters, cab companies will not have to pay drivers. Business people can continue to do business while moving about. Teenagers can go to the mall and parties while using their smart phones, and their parents can stay home. Sooner or later people driving automobiles will be made illegal because it is just too hazardous. Saving 40,000 lives per year (just in the USA) is a major benefit, especially if you are one of them. When all automobiles are driverless and wirelessly communicating with each other, we no longer need traffic lights to slow down traffic and we will not need police to monitor speed limits. Sharing cars (using taxis) will be much cheaper and fewer people will own cars, requiring much less parking. Fewer cars on the road will reduce infrastructure maintenance costs. In short, driverless cars will be so much more efficient for society that our standard of living and quality of life will rise significantly.

    We might require laws to assure that this transition does not happen too quickly, putting many taxi drivers and truck drivers out of work. In the short run, the economic benefits might be less than the costs resulting from unemployment.

    Driverless automobiles will be vulnerable to Electromagnetic Pulse attacks, but so are all automobiles. We cannot allow driverless cars to be vulnerable to software attacks.
  • May 3 2013: I would rather not drive in a world of self driving cars and fly in pilot-less aircraft as I don't think we can get the programming correct and/or build the infrastructure that such systems would require to function.
    I would be much happier if we created systems that did what computers do well, which is repetitive boring tasks without fail or lagging attention.
    A car system that watches are around with visual analysis and radar/sonar and/or watches our behaviour to see if we are intoxicated or just driving bad and warns us of problems and in extreme cases, takes evasive actions to avoid crashes.
    That would be enough for me to start with anyways