Silly idea

Dan Neil, the car guy for the Wall Street Journal, writes that he expects his teen-age daughters (some pity, I know) will not really need to own a car. Why? Because

Ride sharing and autonomous-driving technologies together will transform mobility and the private-ownership model, and not a minute too soon.

Well, it would be many, many minutes too soon for anyone who thinks it through for just a minute. Let’s just say that this state of progressive bliss won’t happen any time soon.

Ride sharing for young women is problematical right from the start. Unless, of course, they live in an area with no sexual predators. Which I would tend to think would be in areas of such low population density as to rule out ride sharing as a practical mode of transportation.

As for autonomous technologies, as an engineer I can tell you that technology of sufficient sophistication to drive safety in anything except a straight-line deserted highway isn’t coming anytime soon. If you think otherwise, then perhaps you haven’t been paying attention to the development of computer operating systems: highly sophisticated pieces of technology that are still prone to failure, some fifty years after their first development.

The point is that the more sophisticated technology becomes, the greater the chances it will be glitchy. And these glitches won’t just cause the Blue Screen of Death, but actual death and dismemberment.

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