by WorldTribune Staff, March 18, 2019
Self-driving vehicles are impractical and will never work, President Donald Trump has reportedly said.
The president called the autonomous car revolution “crazy” and played out scenes of self-driving cars going haywire and veering into trees and walls, sources told Axios reporters.
Most U.S. drivers agree with Trump. According to a AAA poll released on March 14, nearly 71 percent of U.S. drivers say they would be afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle.
AAA found that Americans are receptive to the idea of automated vehicle technology in more limited applications. More than half (53 percent) are comfortable with low-speed, short distance forms of transportation such as people movers found at airports or theme parks while 44 percent are comfortable with fully self-driving vehicles for delivery of food or packages. However, once the passengers become more personal – in particular, transporting their loved ones – just one in five remain comfortable.
Those who are skeptical that fully self-driving cars will arrive soon, cite reasons such as lack of trust, not wanting to give up driving, the technology won’t be ready and that road conditions will not be good enough to support the technology.
The sources cited by Axios say they have personally observed the president criticizing self-driving technology.
“You know when he’s telling a story, and he does the hand motions,” one source said, referring to Trump’s hand gesticulations.
The source added: “He (Trump) says, ‘Can you imagine, you’re sitting in the back seat and all of a sudden this car is zig-zagging around the corner and you can’t stop the f—ing thing?’ ”
The AAA poll comes amid recent reports on Tesla’s self-driving cars frequently suffer glitches.
A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report from June 2018, for instance, found a Tesla vehicle involved in a deadly wreck in March of last year rapidly accelerated prior to barreling into a street barrier. The report raised alarms about the safety and risk associated with the functionality of Tesla’s autopilot system.
But one source did tell Axios that it probably wouldn’t take much for Trump to reverse his administration’s position on self-driving technology.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on March 15 that it is considering changes to decades-old motor vehicle statutes to allow cars with no steering wheels, pedals or gear shifts.
On March 13, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced a new regulatory body designed to push hyperloop tunnels and self-driving technologies to the forefront.