DAVE ROSS

Don’t let the self-driving cars hear this

Feb 7, 2018, 6:49 AM
(File, Associated Press)...
(File, Associated Press)
(File, Associated Press)

There is a good chance that within five years, steering wheels will start disappearing from cars.

Is anyone surprised there are millions of fake accounts?

The reason is that human drivers have simply failed to evolve to the point of being able to watch the road, use a touchscreen, sip a hot beverage, and steer.

The only hitch is that self-driving cars — and I don’t want to say this too loud in case they’re listening — sometimes get confused. Like in construction zones, which turn out to be everywhere.

So a California company named Phantom Auto has set up a help center for self-driving cars. The company’s founders Elliot Katz and Shai Magzimoff explained that in this help center is a real steering wheel and a real human being.

“And he would be ready to take control and assist and support the vehicle in real time.”

What would he or she see?

“The remote operator uses a simple camera system to see exactly what a person would see if they are sitting in the driver seat.”

Which got me thinking, if you’re going to go to all that trouble, why not just leave a backup steering wheel in the car? Even if it’s just a little one.

But I have a feeling it’s become heretical to dare to think there is anything a machine can’t do. But hang on, let me check.

“Hey, Jibo, is there anything a machine can’t do?

“Well, I searched, but my search was fruitless.

See what I mean.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
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Don’t let the self-driving cars hear this