Technology allows us to do more, faster, better and easier. With more and more technology companies popping up all over the world we’re going to see even more rapid change. Take self-driving cars as an example. A decade ago they were the stuff of science fiction, now, it’s a brave new world with companies like Google, Tesla, Ford and Mercedes developing their version of the driverless car.
Recently, Ontario Ministry of Transportation has given permission for testing of automated vehicles on Ontario roads as of January 1, 2016. This is a 10 year pilot project for testing purposes only. For more information you can visit the Ministry of Transportation announcement.
While a lot of research has been done in the U.S it is important to bring a Canadian focus as the climate in our “true north strong and free” brings added complexity. White-out conditions and icy roads, for example, create unique challenges for driverless vehicles.
How Does South-Western Ontario Fit into the Driverless Car Equation?
Locally, Stratford has built itself into an incredibly connected city. Today, Stratford’s roads can communicate with street lights and signals can connect with cars. All this is made possible by a reliable wireless network that sends data to companies operating there. With the new driverless car rules Stratford will become a hub of testing for vehicle automation. Couple Stratford's forward vision with the engineering wizardry at the University of Waterloo you have the ingredients for great things.
How Will Driverless Cars Effect Our Roads and Our Society?
Times are exciting and yet there’s always side-effects of new technology. Look at the smart phone, which led to new apps, which led to Uber and its disruptive influence on society. Same with self-driving cars. Other aspects of society will change too. A lot of questions are being considered in advance of any mass roll-out of automated cars.
What kind of insurance framework will be in place when self-driving cars are on the roads in greater numbers? What level of responsibility will the manufacturer of the car, the province, and the driver have if an accident occurs? How will courts respond to lawsuits involving driverless cars?
These are all important questions to consider. The answers will depend on research and development and the coming together of many different interested parties and industries – automotive, government, insurance, and technology among others.
What do you think of the advent of self-driving cars? Is it a good or bad thing? Are you excited or nervous? Leave a comment below, we’d love to read your thoughts.
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Thanks for reading.