VIDEO: Self-driving car takes Gov. Inslee for a ride

Jan 24, 2017, 1:32 PM

Washington Governor Jay Inslee took a ride in a semi-autonomous vehicle — aka self-driving car — on Monday. The ride comes during a legislative session when lawmakers consider how to craft laws around the new technology.

Inslee took a ride in an all-electric Tesla X. His guide on the self-driving car excursion was Tesla’s Genny Carter, according to GeekWire, which notes that the electric car has a range of 295 miles before needing a recharge. Not to mention it can hit 62 mph in just under 5 seconds. The average Joe can experience all that for $100,000.

Related: Would you program a semi-autonomous car to save your life or a pedestrian’s?

One of the benefits of Tesla’s self-driving car is that its software will signal the driver and have them take over when driving conditions are too complicated for the computer. The car generally watches traffic, speeds and lanes. Inslee experienced that in the driver’s seat when the Tesla turned the wheel over to the governor.

Self-driving car issues

Inslee’s self-driving car video comes as lawmakers consider how to deal with the new cars. Legislators are considering new issues such as: Who is responsible after an accident involving a self-driving car? If no one was driving, whose insurance takes the lead? If someone hasn’t updated their self-driving software, does that place them at blame?

Washington lawmakers are playing catch up. Other states have already begun considering such laws. In Washington, self-driving technology has already hit the road. Google has been testing its own self-driving software out of its Kirkland office. And just over the horizon, at least one expert warns that the technology will create a dramatic shift in everyday life.

Market disruption expert Tony Seba spoke to Seattle leaders in 2016 and told them that self-driving cars, and electric cars, will soon take over (Seattle has already started preparing for the electric car boom). Seba argued that the new technology, combined with rideshare services will greatly diminish private car ownership in many communities. People will put off spending thousands of dollars on cars, insurance, and maintenance, and instead order up a ride in a self-driving car for about $5-10.

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VIDEO: Self-driving car takes Gov. Inslee for a ride