Learning To Drive, RIP

Ryan Avent believes that self-driving cars will be commercially available within the next 16 years. Tim Lee differs

 [Avent] thinks his infant daughter will never need to learn to drive because self-driving cars will be ready for prime time before she reaches her 16th birthday in 2026. I’m more skeptical. I think self-driving cars are coming, but I doubt we’ll see them available to consumers before the 2030s. So I proposed, and Ryan accepted, the following bet:

I bet you $500 that on your daughter’s 16th birthday, it won’t be possible and legal for someone with no driver’s license to hop into a self-driving car in DC, give it an address in Philly, take a nap, and wake up at her destination 3-4 hours later (depending on traffic, obviously).

The car must be generally commercially available–not a research prototype or limited regulatory trial. It can be either purchased or a rented “taxi.” And obviously there can’t be anyone helping to guide the vehicle either in the car or over the air.

Reihan sides with Lee:

Like Tim, I hope he loses the bet. I’d pay more than $500 to hasten the arrival of self-driving cars as a mass market phenomenon. Yet believing that self-driving cars will be firmly entrenched by 2026 requires a great deal of confidence in the good sense of regulators and juries and in the pace of technological progress when it comes to the knotty problem of mimicking human intuition. 

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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