the road without anybody questioning its motives."
Transportation laws are outdated, is the message from these recent items:
- Ride-for-hire companies getting legit, if not yet legal
- Feds seek input on potential smart car regs
- GM expects to offer hands-free driving by 2016
- The ethics of autonomous cars
- Robot cars of tomorrow may be programmed to hit you
- Driverless cars will "capture a virtual replica of the real world," says Pernilla Ohrstedt
In Austin, police are arresting Uber and Lyft drivers even as the companies heavily promote their services, their market share is growing, and the city council considers legalizing their currently illicit but popular services.
Meanwhile, the feds are beginning to think about regulating autonomous cars just as they're about to hit consumer markets earlier than most people anticipated.
Two other pieces on autonomous cars emphasize the ethical aspects of coding such vehicles to actually function successfully in urban environments. If your car must choose in a split second which vehicle to hit - the late-model Volvo or a motorcycle with a helmet-less rider - which should it choose?
And the final item highlights a little-discussed aspect of autonomous vehicles operated by sensors: Once broadly implemented, they will generate a terrific cache of data about urban environments. Grits has discussed before how the market for wearable tech depends on finding uses for data generated by sensors, which has meant corrections applications have been some of the most lucrative in the early going. With cars, there are near-endless uses for the data beyond just operating the automobile. Who gets to use it? For what purposes? At what cost?
There are significant criminal justice implications for these tech advances, particularly automated cars. Grits finds these issues surrounding emerging technologies a fascinating example of how judgments about ethics and rights change with context. Just as the arrival of the automobile launched a decline in Fourth Amendment protections, I'm hopeful that emerging personal tech and debates over control of data may end up sparking their renaissance.