The automotive industry is one of the last bastions of manufacturing here in the states, so it’s not surprising it’s a lightning rod for both the left and right. Since 2012 is a presidential election year, it’s especially bad as the two political sides hurl accusations at each other, and legitimate media tries to sort the truth from the lies (good luck, brethren).
The latest piece to cross our virtual desktop is the below piece attacking Florida Republican candidate Jeff Brandes. In it, opponents rip Brandes’ support in converting a bridge to a toll road and “allowing” unemployment to continue in the Sunshine state. Nothing new there.
But Brandes’ support of driverless cars is definitely new. In the ad below, you see an apparently driverless Toyota Prius hybrid nearly hitting elderly pedestrians while a voice over pulled straight from The Golden Girls admonishes Brandes support of such vehicles. The message is that such vehicles are menace to the hapless elderly.
Talk about bull pucky. First off, Nevada is currently the only state where such driverless — autonomous — vehicles are legal. The requirements are strict: registration, special license plates, and having driven itself for several thousand miles. Don’t expect to be driven off a car lot in a brand new car any time soon.
If anything, we’d expect the elderly to actually embrace autonomous cars once their advantages are known. Denied by your doctor and the DMV from driving because of your bad vision/heart problems/bad joints? Call the grand kids that you’ll be visiting courtesy of your autonomous car. Can’t find a driver to take you to your weekly doctor’s appointment? Just punch in the address into the car’s system and you’re there. Blind? Just tell the car the address. And so on. Autonomous cars are programmed with passenger and pedestrian safety in mind, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Contrast that to “manned” vehicles, whose driver could be distracted, tipsy, drunk, or high on drugs. Or simply tired. Even car enthusiasts are embracing the idea of autonomous cars since it’ll deal with the humdrum daily drive to and from the workplace.
Florida, along with California, Hawai’i, and Oklahoma, are currently considering legislation to legalize autonomous vehicles. While there’s opposition, the benefits will outweigh the risks, especially as the U.S. population continues to age and the younger generation continues to care less about driving.