Joshua Brown is a name you probably won't forget. He will go down in history.
Sadly, Brown was the first person known to be killed in a vehicle that was driving itself.
In May, his Tesla drove under the side of a turning truck in Florida, and he was killed.
If you thought self-driving vehicles were just around the corner, guess again. That fatal accident could set back the potential of driverless vehicles by quite a while. Make no mistake: They are coming, but the public will need a lot of time to get acclimated to the technologies.
Like an autopilot on a plane, self-driving vehicles will still require human monitoring. It probably will take years to get all the bugs out of the systems before there can be pure autonomous vehicles. There must be plenty of bugs in such complicated technology.
And while the industry tries to make the systems foolproof, regulators still have to figure out what sort of license occupants will need and what insurance will be necessary and to define the liability of the many manufacturers and suppliers.
The industry is rushing to offer self-driving vehicles to consumers. Brown's unexpected death has undoubtedly set the timetable back substantially.
Autonomous vehicles will happen -- just not as quickly as everyone involved hopes. As with pioneering space flights, the complicated technology will require a lot of time and effort.
There is a huge demand for self-driving vehicles, particularly from senior citizens who probably would accept a level of danger for continued freedom and mobility. The bureaucracy will not allow that to happen.
Brown will become a footnote in history.
Before we see widespread use of self-driving vehicles, we will, regrettably, have more fatalities, but the demand will keep pushing the technology.
Joshua Brown can be considered a pioneer.