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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

We Already Basically Have Driverless Cars

Posted By on Tue, Aug 11, 2015 at 12:11 PM

click to enlarge Google's driver-less car - SMOOTHGROOVER22/FLICKR
  • smoothgroover22/Flickr
  • Google's driver-less car

Starting today, private drivers can no longer turn onto Market Street between Third and Eight streets. The new restrictions are part of the SFMTA's attempts to improve safety for pedestrians, bikers, and drivers, and make total sense for the congested, bus- and bike-heavy thoroughfare. 

According to a report by Bay City News, however, SFPD and the MTA are concerned that drivers won't follow the new regulations because — despite heavy news coverage and street signage — not all GPS navigation systems are updated with the new rules. If Google Maps tells you to turn on Market, you're probably going to turn on Market, because how could Google be wrong, right? 

San Francisco police Sgt. Kevin Knoble said drivers should not mindlessly follow their navigation system’s directions, as not all are likely to be updated with the new turn restrictions by Tuesday.

Knoble said he notices many drivers following their navigation systems despite the posted rules of the road.

“They don’t read the signs,” Knoble said.

It's a reasonable worry, and, for me at least, a useful reminder of how dependent we are as drivers on the systems that tell us where to turn. Smart phones and GPS systems have taken so much of the thinking out of driving — while also providing a constant distraction — that it's no surprise that we're so bad at driving.

We're not paying attention, which means our metal death machines er cars are hurtling around essentially driver-less. We're supposed to be the controller, but instead we're the glitch in the operating system. When we finally get hovercrafts, let's hope they're driver-less from the start. 

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About The Author

Julia Carrie Wong

Julia Carrie Wong's work has appeared in numerous local and national titles including 48hills, Salon, In These Times, The Nation, and The New Yorker.


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