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


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

Affirmative: Driverless cars can help society



Reilly Brennan director of the automotive program for Stanford University discussed the implications for urban planning and how cities are developed based on the element of autonomy, linked here. Some of the questions She tried to answer was what it will mean for reclaimed space, what it will mean for the underserved and how cities will be funded after there is no more human error to tax. With the boom of transportation networks companies such as Lyft and Uber autonomous vehicles can use this opportunity to re-frame the mean of city transportation.

Autonomous vehicles in the future will have a positive relationship with our cities and community. Per Seleta Reynolds of the Los Angeles department of transportation the technology of the autonomous vehicles will re-frame our community as we know it. All in all, Reynolds believe that our cities could be safer with this new artificial technology whether its bike riding, bus transportation, walking, or cars. Autonomous vehicles would make all means of transportation publicly friendly. The results of this would be less traffic, accidents and parking. Since cities are usually funded by human errors such as parking tickets and speed cameras. They’re also funded by meter parking and commercial parking lots. The funds for this usually goes back into the community whether it’s for public safety, police, parks and libraries. This will probably cause politicians to find other means for funding these different departments.

Autonomous vehicles use in public transportation can help the less fortunate or the underserved with affordable transportation. Vehicles such as zip cars and ubers can benefit with their shared vehicles with more people utilizing them instead of public transportation. Also, people who are physically unable to drive because of age, physical or mental ability can also benefit from autonomous vehicles by having the ability to use these shared cars to get from point A to B. Eliminating the use of government services and relying on help from others.

Ideally autonomous vehicles in the public use can help the environment by limiting the cars on the road contributing in less carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere ultimately slowing down the process of global warming. Also, I agree with its ability to eliminate human error even though it will decrease the funding for public departments such as libraries, parks and police stations. Overall I believe that the relationship between the cities and its residence will work out for the better good. Having a safer city would contribute to people walking more or using bicycles which can contribute to better health for people using these means of transportation. Lastly, I believe that people can save money with the use of shared autonomous vehicles as well as benefit from the ability to be able to travel when necessary or need.

Affirmative View: Autopilot needs to happen


Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, recently unveiled new technology that would allow Tesla vehicles to be fully autonomous. Wired discusses many of the key points here. This tech is far ahead of competitors, and is currently being equipped on Tesla vehicles now. Additionally, Tesla would only need to send an over the air activation to allow drivers to utilize this awesome tech.

Right now Tesla claims it can have one of it’s vehicles drive from San Francisco to New York City without any driver input other than selecting a destination. No other manufacturer has claimed this. Additionally, Tesla released a video to boost it’s press release here. The video is edited; however, it shows that Tesla has something credible here.

Tesla has an enormous amount of driving data, because of the available Tesla Autopilot V1.0. This autopilot has gathered enough data for Tesla engineers to program, and equip vehicles with the necessary equipment to achieve the highest level of autonomy. Google is second in driving data, but is years behind releasing similar technology.

While allowing drivers the ability to use Tesla’s autopilot, there have been confirmed reports of fatalities. Statistically, 120 million miles per one death compared to without autopilot, 60 million miles per one death. So Autopilot v1.0 is certainly better than human driving already, imagine what full autopilot would do.

Overall, autopilot has significant value in our society. Over 30,000 people are killed each year in the United States from vehicular accidents. Autopilot could prevent driving error, and Elon Musk is attempting to have autopilot become two times better than a human.

Unfortunately, the federal and state regulation will slow the adoption of autopilot, “Self-Driving functionality is dependent upon extensive software validation and regulatory approval, which may vary widely by jurisdiction”. We’re in the infancy of Autopilot for cars, but so were planes…

-Team APG