Conundrum is defined by Webster's New World College Dictionary as a puzzling question or problem.
The exploding autonomous vehicle phenomenon is presenting the automobile industry with a thicket of conundrums. These challenges will keep an army of engineers, lawyers, politicians, venture capitalists, academics, cybersecurity professionals, ethicists and even philosophers busy for years, and even decades, to come.
If the standing-room-only crowd at the 2015 Automated Vehicles Symposium in Ypsilanti, Mich., last week is any indication, there's no hotter topic in the auto industry right now.
Cem Saraydar, director of electrical controls and systems for General Motors, likened the shift to driverless vehicles to the transformation that took place when the horseless carriage replaced the horse more than a century ago.
How does the car industry come to grips with new technologies some analysts believe might actually lead to the sale of fewer cars?
Glenn Mercer, a freelance auto industry investment adviser and panelist at the conference said: "Think of the conundrum facing BMW. When you're the 'ultimate driving machine,' how do you market technologies that don't have you drive?"
Another conundrum: Ethics. Chris Gerdes, professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford University, addressed the industry challenge presented by the kinds of choices, both large and small, that humans make every day behind the wheel. How do automated cars make ethical decisions in traffic? Gerdes showed a picture of an illegally parked minivan on a narrow road in California. The van was parked in such a way that no vehicle could pass without crossing the double yellow line, an illegal move in California.