Humans Banned from Driving in 25 Years; They are already Mapping Malaysia
According to an expert, humans could well be banned from driving within 25 years as driverless technology, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), takes over and the driver becomes redundant. Well, at least according to a British-based expert, Omar Rahim, during his speech at the ‘Internet of Things’ congress in Barcelona recently.
Is this how Malaysians will be commuting soon?
Omar is the CEO of a Manchester-based high-tech company called Energi Mine, and he is urging the British government to fast track the legislation that will enable autonomous cars to pilot the roads of the UK legally. Of course, Omar is not the first to push for autonomous cars; Elon Musk of Tesla and Space X fame is also a proponent of them, as we have often written. Some others, such as Professor Toby Walsh, goes as far as to predict that by 2050, humans will actually be banned from driving altogether, in his book It’s Alive!: Artificial Intelligence from Logic Piano to Killer Robots. (Not read it yet?)
Tesla’s still got some work to do…
For many of us baby boomers, the thought of NOT having the freedom of getting into our car and going where we want, when we want, would amount to a sacrifice of our freedom that we would not give up readily. But here is the thing—we used to travel to a neighbouring town or even country because the shops there were so much better; now all the shopping centres are pretty much the same. Ten years ago, hailing a cab with a smartphone was pretty much unimaginable, but even for this dinosaur, ride-sharing apps feature on my phone.
As you get into a lift, try explaining to a child of today that we used to have people that actually operated the elevators, or what a payphone was; heck, try to explain a cassette player. So, in 20 years’ time, we may just have a problem explaining why we used to allow a human being pilot two tonnes of metal down the road at 100kph in a rainstorm, relying JUST on human judgement.
Machines can already be programmed to process data faster than humans can, with the added advantage that they will not get tired or be in an emotional state. Taking humans out of the equation should result in fewer accidents and much improved driving conditions, as we allow the machine to plan the ideal route.
You may be forgiven for thinking that this technology is destined just for distant shores and won’t be coming to a street near us anytime soon—think again. Pictured below is the vehicle I followed down a surburban street in Kuala Lumpur this morning. The number plate is German and that device spinning on the roof is an autonomous driver mapping tool…Autonomous driving could be here sooner than you think.