March 18, 2015 4:30 am -

FXT10228.0.0[su_r_sky_ad]Inventor Elon Musk thinks so – and libertarians be damned, he’s making sense!

Musk believes that cars you can control will eventually be outlawed in favor of ones that are controlled by robots. The simple explanation: Musk believes computers will do a much better job than us to the point where, statistically, humans would be a liability on roadways.

“I don’t think we have to worry about autonomous cars, because that’s sort of like a narrow form of AI,” Musk told NVidia co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang at the technology company’s annual developers conference today. “It would be like an elevator. They used to have elevator operators, and then we developed some simple circuitry to have elevators just automatically come to the floor that you’re at … the car is going to be just like that.” So what happens when we get there? Musk said that the obvious move is to outlaw driving cars. “It’s too dangerous,” Musk said. “You can’t have a person driving a two-ton death machine.”

Even if that were to be the case, Musk cautioned what would be a slow sea change in the automotive industry, something that’s already been the case with hybrid and electric vehicles.

“I think it is important to appreciate the size of the automotive industrial base,” Musk said. “There’s 2 billion of them.” Moving everything to autonomous vehicles would take 20 years, he added, noting that the sheer capacity of car and truck production is limited to about 100 million new vehicles a year.


D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

27 responses to Will Robots Take Away Your Freedom To Drive?

  1. rg9rts March 18th, 2015 at 5:20 am

    That has about as much of a chance of happening as taking away peoples guns…..more drivers than gun owners….

    • Roctuna March 18th, 2015 at 7:28 am

      Similar things were said about the Wright Flyer but it only took one generation before air travel became a global phenomenon. I think it’ll be sooner and faster than you think.

      • rg9rts March 18th, 2015 at 7:59 am

        Don’t bet on it…too many special applications and the freedom to go when and where you choose.. The cost to replace EVERY vehicle is prohibitive and at about what $75 to $100 thousand per copy don’t hold your breath.. Aircraft are a different different case…Believers like you thought that for sure everyone would have a plane in their drive way…Naaaaaaah

        • Roctuna March 18th, 2015 at 8:54 am

          Just because a “robot” drives the car doesn’t mean you have to go where the robot wants to take you. Your point about personal control seems misguided to me. Humans would still determine the destination. Musk pointed out that the transition would take time if for no other reason the industrial capacity prevents an overnight change. I don’t know where you got your $75k-$100k figures but they seem wildly inflated to me. The necessary technologies already exist. Personally, I’d rather have an automated system that controls speed, interval, crash-avoidance and efficient routing over the chaos I deal with on Houston freeways every day.

          • rg9rts March 18th, 2015 at 8:56 am

            You don’t get it and f don’t have the time or patience to explain it to you…you know how to double clutch??

          • Roctuna March 18th, 2015 at 10:59 am

            As if it mattered, I probably knew how to double clutch before you were born. I thought we were having a conversation, you apparently thought otherwise. Please, I’m begging you, find it in your heart to explain it to me. Or you could just bite me.

          • rg9rts March 18th, 2015 at 11:01 am

            I doubt it otherwise you would have a basic understanding ,

          • Roctuna March 18th, 2015 at 4:23 pm

            I thought you’d said adios but you just can’t stop expressing your hostility can you? Too much caffeine today or are you always this nasty?

          • trees March 19th, 2015 at 2:39 am

            I think a case could be made where robotic control would be optional. In perfect weather, then yeah, the robot could navigate, and make the fine course adjustments as it’s instrumentation and sensors would be operating without having to compensate for, or be obstructed by, weather conditions. Get on an icy road, get into blizzard conditions…..who do you trust with your life, yourself, or your computer? A computer can only react in real time, it can’t anticipate ahead of time…… That’s it’s shortcoming.

          • rg9rts March 18th, 2015 at 11:08 am


  2. Abby Normal March 18th, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Sounds good to me. The highways would be a lot safer without the drunks, texters, roadragers, daydreamers and other clowns at the wheel.

    • Larry Schmitt March 18th, 2015 at 9:03 am

      Can a robot get drunk on 30-weight?

      • Roctuna March 18th, 2015 at 2:02 pm

        Ahh, a piquant little synthetic with hints of sulfur and long legs. Last Friday afternoon was a great vintage at the refinery.

      • ChrisVosburg March 19th, 2015 at 6:47 pm

        If memory serves, this is how George Jetson got rid of the annoyingly efficient robot that was about to take over his job at Spacely Sprockets.

  3. jybarz March 18th, 2015 at 9:49 am

    I believe him wholeheartedly… computers will take over, already have.

  4. fredoandme March 18th, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Will Robots Take Away Your Freedom To Drive?

    it is certainly to be desired.

  5. PicoMania March 18th, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Elon Musk is beginning to sound like a lunatic, but usually lunatics are the ones with vision, and with a name like that, his parents kind of set him up for mad geniusing. lol!

    All kidding aside, how easy would it be for someone to hack into your car’s computer and highjack it?

    • Mike March 18th, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      Not so sure the analogy works…we store all of the worlds most vital information on computers yet they are susceptible to hackers.
      Automated cars will be a reality sooner rather than later…think about the last time a human being actually landed a 747 or a fighter jet, tank, forward operator, etc., without a variety of on board computers to control targeting and eliminate/decrease fratricidal incidents using FOF (Friend or Foe) software.
      My oven is computerized and can be controlled remotely with an IPhone App…when I was a kid that was just a dream.

      • PicoMania March 19th, 2015 at 2:34 pm

        I get that our data is susceptible to hackers, but my concern is my life being susceptible to danger if someone decided to assume control of my vehicle by hacking into its computer.

        • Mike March 19th, 2015 at 6:31 pm

          It does sound a bit scary but think about it…Planes today are so complex they can’t be landed (easily or safely) without computers, the same goes for high speed rail throughout Europe and Asia.
          I have this vision of superspeed expressways where you can travel maybe 200 mph, traffic jambs or accidents would be rare. It would stop urban sprawl and allow those in the country to commute like they do in say Spain where a 100 mile trip takes about half an hour.
          It will take some getting used to with cars…it’s already happened to planes and trains and I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think anyone has hacked into the system and taken control of a train or plane.

    • fahvel March 19th, 2015 at 4:19 am

      not ez at all – smart cars will end up protecting themselves and crashing into invasive vehicles and then run over people with less than noble thoughts – be safe in these words pico.

    • ChrisVosburg March 19th, 2015 at 6:39 pm

      “Elon Musk”– it’s the perfect name for a Bond villain, right? To top it off, there’s the fact that Elon wants to own Mars, conducted early tests for the SpaceX rocketry secretly on a deserted island, and sounds vaguely foreign (actually he’s South African), and all you need to to is put a cat on his lap to stroke while he taunts the smirking 007 with “you may have gotten past my guards, Mr Bond, but you’ll find escape far more difficult.”

    • ChrisVosburg March 19th, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      “All kidding aside, how easy would it be for someone to hack into your car’s computer and highjack it?”

      As easy as it would be to create counter-measures, of course. A simple subroutine to lock the unrecognized perp into the seat and drive to the nearest Cop station oughta do it.

  6. AmusedAmused March 18th, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Whirlpool took away my freedom to do laundry by hand.

  7. fahvel March 19th, 2015 at 4:17 am

    will the cars be required to have additional insurance if they carry human carcass?

  8. trees March 19th, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Someday we’ll get to the point where we’ll all be under robotic control. We’ll have robotic limbs, and they’ll be awesome, they’ll interface perfectly with our robotic-ally assisted brains…….

  9. illinoisboy1977 March 24th, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    I’m rather libertarian, but I can’t wait until I can get in the motorhome and spend time building memories with the kids, while the computer does the driving. We can play board games, the whole way to our destination. “You sank my battleship!” I’m also looking forward to a time, when I can clear out my first batch of morning emails, on my commute to work. I’m all for it!