Thursday, May 29, 2014

How will Google's driverless cars impact vehicle crime?

Google has unveiled it's completely driverless car and plans to test a hundred prototypes in California over the next few years. Unlike previous versions which featured steering wheels and the ability of the human driver to assume control, these vehicles are completely autonomous and have no way for passenger intervention.

This could have major implications for vehicular crime. As the human driver is in no way controlling the vehicle crimes such as DUI would be meaningless. Driver licenses would be no more required to ride in a driverless car than they would be to ride in the back of a taxi. The income small municipalities receive from speeding offenses and red light cameras would dry up, as presumably the cars would be programmed to obey all rules of the road.

There would need to be significant changes in auto-insurance laws (currently mandatory in all 50 states) which could render that industry bankrupt. What about people who have lost their license due to a medical issue such as epilepsy? What about blind people "driving" these driverless cars?

It is an exciting development and I expect it will have a big impact on the current climate of vehicle crime.

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