Self-driving vehicle you could trust


One hundred years ago, my wife’s grandfather Arvel rode the world’s first autonomous vehicle. To meet girls at church and barn dances for courting purposes, Arvel hitched up his old reliable horse to a wagon and rode for miles throughout southern Illinois. Returning home after a long evening, he was tuckered out. (In today’s parlance, he would be called a fatigued driver.) Arvel fell soundly asleep and let old Dobbins schlep him safely home to Mill Shoals many times without incident or serious accident.

I refuse to ride in a “modern” autonomous car. Dobbins the horse had one trait these computer-guided cars lack: judgment.

Dobbins, with his brain and instinct for self-preservation, was unlikely to run Arvel into a tree or off a cliff at high speed.

That is more than any of us can say about the widely reported Tesla vehicle ramming into a California highway barrier last month.

The lessons of a young man and his trusted horse from last century have been seemingly lost.

LAWRENCE NECHELES, Pontiac, Ill. The writer is an attorney in the transportation industry and a hearing officer for the Illinois Tollway.

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