A 4/30/2005 Associated Press release talks about software that “enables cars to fix themselves and avoid accidents”. The article quotes Bill Gates as saying that “Eventually there could be a car that wouldn’t let itself crash.” This is really scary, don’t you think that he should be working on a computer that “wouldn’t let itself crash” first?
I don’t want to ever be behind the wheel of a car that depends on our current state of technology to keep it safe. Sitting at my computer during a crash can be extremely annoying, and is only slightly dangerous to those around me, but hurling myself down the highway at 65 miles per hour in an automobile requires a much more reliable operating system than any that I’ve seen so far. I’m annoyed enough already about Microsoft forcing it’s conventions on me when I’m typing a letter, if they start being able to dictate how I drive my car then it better be through a much more user-friendly and rock-solid interface than Bill Gates has ever even dreamed of.
I’m also very concerned about the security of any such technology. Would you want to drive to work one morning in an automobile that just automatically downloaded CrashProof Security Update Service Pack 2? And I’m sure that you don’t want to even think about the security repercussions of not installing such an update on your “Crash Proof” automobile.
This Crash Proof technology is certainly a goal worth striving for, but until I can run my computer for years at a time without the need for a software patch or a three finger salute (Ctrl-Alt-Delete) restart I don’t think I’ll be wanting any software “drivers” installed in my car. Hope my trusty Honda Element lasts until the bugs are all worked out of this system.