Last Post: Autonomous Driving and Beyond



Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share our thoughts and opinions on the future of autonomous driving. We started off with our blog about reasons why autopilot needed to happen, and the many issues that are preventing it from moving forward on 10/26.

There were strong perspectives on the issues concerning morals 10/28,  jobs 11/03, and safety 11/15. In each of those post we articulated how policies and regulations would develop, and we would see a great change that is probably hard to predict at this moment.

Then there were the focuses that we couldn’t agree with more. For example, how driverless cars could significantly benefit society 11/02, and the liability concerns 11/08. Finally, we brought in an interesting point on our last post about privacy 11/20, and how it will influence each person.

Overall, it has been an interesting journey attempting to generatively discuss the multifaceted issues of autonomous driving. We hope this blog will allow readers with limited knowledge the foundation to begin exploring different angles on these various issues.


…and maybe, in retrospect… We could look back at this blog, and the infancy of autopilot… So that we could analyze how the world has accepted and integrated this new technology.

Thank You,

-Team APG

Affirmative: Autopilot will be the Big Brother



We can’t wait for autopilot to take over our commutes so that we can preoccupy ourselves with our other agendas. Wait! Did anyone really think about our PRIVACY? maybe the Guardian, the Atlantic, or even the Autoblog

Interestingly enough, states the obvious. That we’re going to be watched like George Orwell’s 1984… Big brother is watching… Some of us are ok with this. I mean we carry around these smart phones that send us location based ads. We surf the web at one shopping website, and instantly on our Facebook we start seeing similar ads for products.

Are drivers… or technically passengers of autonomous vehicles going to be ok with knowing that there is some sort of digital bread crumb left behind? Well you’re going to have to be. Data is the new oil… The more data someone can gather about you, your neighbors, family, friends… the better marketing companies can figure out to maximize profits.


If you don’t believe this is going on, check out this article at the Wall Street Journal or It’s more important than ever to understand the audience for politics, products, or things we can’t use foresight to predict. DATA DATA DATA!

If you want to avoid being a part of this new level of data mining, the only thing you can do is refuse to buy into autopilot; however, we’re sure that the majority of the country will transition into full autonomous transportation. The data gathering will be extensive, and all sorts of correlations will be developed… studied… criticized etc. etc.

Theres good to this too… maybe our government could use this to fix the infrastructure of our country. Focus on policies and regulations that will benefit our society more. IE. why are people choosing one hospital over another? or why are people avoiding this area ? is it the crime? congestion? expense?

So overall, there’s no stopping this new form of data mining, although we don’t totally agree with the invasion of privacy, we don’t disagree as well. It’s just the next step above data mining from browser cookies, smart phones, and connected home devices… New technology always comes with a price.

This time it’s our data, our privacy…

-Team APG


Refutation: Feds argue safety is the problem.

Tesla Motors Inc. Tests Self-Driving Technology


The worries for safety with autonomous vehicles are being heard by the U.S Secretary of Transportation, linked from here. Anthony Foxx a transportation representative stated that “We need industry to take the safety aspect of this very seriously,”. Foxx believed in implementing safety to make sure that the technology needed focuses on reducing car crashes and driver safety. The fear of having human crashes replaced by technology being the cause remains to be resolved. People believe that the technology in autonomous vehicles can be hacked and corrupted, which can cause a greater danger to the people.

Other groups are joining the fight against autonomous vehicles, linked here. The Boston Consulting Group reported that cars must be secure from cyber-attack; liability issues also must be resolved, also high-precision maps must be created. Consultants from the BCG had a question. What about snow? Researchers from the group found that the technology in the autonomous cars can be effected by the weather. Snow seemed to be able to interrupt the radars that control the cruise control, can be critical to the vehicles malfunctioning. The cruise control maintains the speed and distance of the vehicle. So, that if a vehicle gets to close the brakes would automatically stop a function that most cars already have. The radar is supposed to detect pedestrians and other cars. Snowy conditions would block the sensors and radars which would present a danger for the people.
Autonomous vehicles use Lidar, sensing technology that requires light and since snow would cause it to in operate. Even though there might be a simple solution it still seems un reliable do to technology. While using wireless communication technology between vehicles it has the chance of being hack or corrupted by hackers or other technology malfunctions. These shortcomings should be a concern for the peoples’ safety. Vehicles are already considered highly dangerous, and given up your ability to control that vehicle can be a concern for many people who sees this new technology as unsafe.

-Team APG

Refutation: Autopilot feature is misleading



According to the author over at, Germany wants Tesla Motors to rename it’s Autopilot feature to something that clarifies that it is not a full autonomous program. This has been an ongoing issue ever since Tesla’s recent fatalities, while possibly using autopilot, here, and here.

Tesla Motors has worked endlessly to debunk many of the minor accidents through each cars black box; however, when fatalities occur, a lengthy investigation into the cause is conducted.

So should Tesla rename Autopilot to something else? Maybe Semi-Autopilot? Definitely not! The automaker could name their system anything they want. It’s really  up to the consumer to understand the product he or she is using.

Unless there are patent issues, then no country should have the power to force a company to change any naming of products or features. Additionally, Tesla Motors explicitly states in the end user agreement that the Autopilot feature is in beta testing,  and that a driver should be ready to regain control of the vehicle in the event of an emergency.

So in the end, it’s the consumer that needs to understand the capabilities of Autopilot, which could vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. You know, it’s like sugar free gum… you’re not getting free sugar!

-Team APG

Affirmative: Liability concerns of autonomous vehicles.



One of the biggest concerns of autonomous vehicles is the legality of personal injury and damage to property. According to Michigan Telecommunications and Law Review, linked here, who is responsible in the event of an accident? Is it the programming, manufacturer, or consumer? There are no prior laws established to use as a foundation for autonomous vehicles.

This is a whole new terrority in creating laws and policies. In one perspective, it can be reasonable to blame a programmer for an autonomous vehicle that erroneously strikes another vehicle in transport. What if it was a hardware issue? Then maybe we can place the responsibility on the manufacturer for failing to conduct thorough inspections, and testing prior to delivery of a product.

Finally, we could blame the consumer, who is responsible for taking full control, instantly if a vehicle is unable to make a logical and safe decision.

The author of the article has a valid point, which is that the legal issues are far much slower to develop than the technology of autonomous vehicles. Regulators like the National Highway Tranportation and Safety Administration must make this a top priority. In a matter of a few years, we’ll begin to see fully autonomous vehicles on the roadways, and insurance companies need laws to place liability for accident settlements. Our court systems are already significantly delayed…

So lets get these Laws for Autopilot Go!

-Team APG