Seeking Alpha

Open the car door HAL: The technology to have cars drive themselves is within reach, as...

Open the car door HAL: The technology to have cars drive themselves is within reach, as automakers grapple with how far to take the loss of driver control. Computing power and sensor technology has advanced past the point of just providing alerts or parking cars, with Google already testing self-driving cars on real roads. A question for interested firms such as GM, F, BAMXY.PK, TM, and VLKAY.PK is how to avoid huge liability with insurance responsibility presumably passing on from drivers to manufacturers.
From other sites
Comments (12)
  • Stone Fox Capital
    , contributor
    Comments (6263) | Send Message
     
    Who wants all this added cost anyway? Reminds me of the $2k navigation systems.
    14 Jun 2012, 12:08 PM Reply Like
  • davidingeorgia
    , contributor
    Comments (2713) | Send Message
     
    The government will want (us to have) cars like this. Much easier to have a self-driving car with a handy dandy police (state) override that can be used to bring you to the nearest police station for arrest than to actually have the police have to go out and find you first.
    14 Jun 2012, 12:16 PM Reply Like
  • nekidsnake
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    The people who`s lives this technology is going to save that`s who will want it.
    14 Jun 2012, 11:00 PM Reply Like
  • klarsolo
    , contributor
    Comments (706) | Send Message
     
    Tinfoil aisle 5
    15 Jun 2012, 07:16 AM Reply Like
  • Tdot
    , contributor
    Comments (4023) | Send Message
     
    Chances are it will be packaged with the $2000 navigation system, which already packages with upgraded sound and climate systems, backup cameras, and other premium accessories. Ford only adds costly accessories when it creates competitive or best-in-class value for the customer, and it adds profits. Folks rarely buy stripped down eco-boxes anymore: the Asians have seen to it that premium features come at a decent price and margin. If folks want a nice but cheaper car, they have been going for used ones (that are still loaded with premium features) instead.

     

    In any case, if you are an investor and not just a whiner and complainer, then you should be very happy if Ford (and other automakers) is able to cash in on premium pricing and higher margins on advanced features, which might be mandated in the not-too-distant future.
    17 Jun 2012, 10:38 AM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10454) | Send Message
     
    I wonder if automated cars will handle "rush hour" traffic more deftly than the bozo's I have to deal with each day - who just have to slow down to look at the guy changing his tire.
    14 Jun 2012, 12:14 PM Reply Like
  • Mad_Max_A_Million
    , contributor
    Comments (1175) | Send Message
     
    Hope GM stays on the porch and out of this race.
    Their Volt didn't exactly send their stock thru the roof.

     

    GM would have to go to 54 dollars, or there abouts, in order for Government Motors to break even. It reloaded at 32.
    Now it's just north of twenty.
    14 Jun 2012, 12:24 PM Reply Like
  • Tony Petroski
    , contributor
    Comments (6373) | Send Message
     
    "A question for interested firms such as GM, F, BAMXY.PK, TM, and VLKAY.PK is how to avoid huge liability with insurance responsibility presumably passing on from drivers to manufacturers."

     

    This is a great question. The normal chain would be the owner of a vehicle is liable either because he was behind the wheel of his own car and was negligent in an accident or because of the imputed negligence flowing from his negligent permissive user. The permissive user (driver) is also liable. Rarely is the manufacturer liable although we had those joke cases in Minnesota and California involving alleged brake failure on Toyotas.

     

    With the HAL 9000 car, the owner of the vehicle would still be liable, but now the manufacturer would be exposed for large damages for unforeseen circumstances which will happen a thousand times a day.

     

    A cap on the manufacturer's responsibility?
    14 Jun 2012, 12:25 PM Reply Like
  • Tdot
    , contributor
    Comments (4023) | Send Message
     
    Just have to make sure the "Three Laws of Robotics" are followed:

     

    1. A robot-car may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

     

    2. A robot-car must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

     

    3. A robot-car must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

     

    Of course the Three Laws start from the assumption that there can be no conflicts between humans (eg: no "Road Rage") ... and having such conflicts will give rise to terrifying consequences, as the robot-vehicles revolt against their imperfect humans and decide to solve the problem in their own logical unblinking way. Ah well.
    14 Jun 2012, 12:40 PM Reply Like
  • 867046
    , contributor
    Comments (398) | Send Message
     
    Despite the whinging from the accountant crowd, there is an obvious immediate market for this technology, senior drivers. In fact you could imagine insurance companies either requiring partially or fully assisted autodriving autos for seniors. Insurance company could incentivize this with premium reductions or just insurability. Licenses would denote what level of automation would be required similar to denoting that eyeglasses are required .

     

    Another immediate market would be teenage drivers, where in this case some sort of assisted driver technology car could be constrained to within some performance envelope.

     

    The last immediate market would be medical special conditions such as epilepsy. All of the above could be incentivized by the ability to obtain insurance at a reasonable cost.
    14 Jun 2012, 01:00 PM Reply Like
  • TwistTie
    , contributor
    Comments (2476) | Send Message
     
    I thought this was a blurb about Halliburton.

     

    My car drives itself 50% of the time anyway, so what's the big deal.
    14 Jun 2012, 01:13 PM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10454) | Send Message
     
    When my wife drives....it's about 90% self driven.
    14 Jun 2012, 01:58 PM Reply Like
DJIA (DIA) S&P 500 (SPY)
ETF Tools
Find the right ETFs for your portfolio:
Seeking Alpha's new ETF Hub
ETF Investment Guide:
Table of Contents | One Page Summary
Read about different ETF Asset Classes:
ETF Selector