Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

September 21, 2017 Driverless cars questionable
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

One of the big things that is being discussed these days is the ‘driverless car.’ To me that idea is totally impractical. I don’t trust that the function of computers to drive a vehicle down a highway at 60 to 70 miles an hour is as practical and believable as me saying I could make a 100-meter dash in 10 seconds. There was no time in my life when I could run that fast.

Yes, the computers in driving cars might do their jobs like Ivory Soap, 99.44/100 percent of the time. It’s what might happen in that other .56/100 percent that would scare me, whether I was driving the car or was meeting one. For those of you who say that would never happen I would ask you how many times your computer at home has malfunctioned in some way. Mine seems to quite often. Of course, in a 10-mile course I am about nine miles from being any sort of computer expert, but I expect to be able to type on my machine without any problems. I do know the keyboard. I learned that in typing class at Lone Tree High School as a sophomore.

I suppose most of you think that the car manufacturers will have foolproof computers in their cars. It would be nice if we could be sure of that, but I saw and incident on a newscast recently that proves it is not true. A reporter was riding with a car company employee who was going to show him how great a computer driven car can be. They were approaching an intersection when the reporter said, “Stop.” The car company guy hit the brakes in the old-fashioned way that most of us are still doing. His automatic braking to avoid danger, or whatever the car companies call it, had not functioned and they were about ready to rear end a car stopped at a light. So much for foolproof computers folks.

Yes, physical drivers make mistakes and have accidents. But, I would still prefer to take my chances in stopping myself the old fashioned way. Anybody who has ever been around any sort of machine knows that sometimes parts do malfunction. One thing I see in a commercial that, at least in the commercial, always works, is the computerized parallel parking. Every time I see that commercial I think back to when I took my drivers test to get my first driver’s license. I’d been doing quite a bit of driving most of the previous two years when my folks and I were going someplace so I pretty well could handle that big old Buick Roadmaster we had at that time, even without power steering. The State Trooper directed me on a several block drive in Iowa City and we came to a corner at the southeast corner of the Courthouse Square. He said “Take a right here and find a place to parallel park.” I noticed that the end space around the corner was open so I signaled my right turn and pulled in tight and into the space. The trooper looked at me and gave chuckle and said, “You lucked out there, didn’t you.” I agreed with him and was glad I didn’t have to go somewhere else and look for a spot where I would have had to jockey around to get into it.

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