Reality Check: first human victim of automous cars

After a few years of mass hysteria it was bound to happen. Today’s newspapers all carry a piece about the recent unfortunate death of a gentleman in the USA who was in a Tesla Model S which was running on autopilot. As has been widely prognosticated, technology provides many opportunities but is not full proof and does not always provide better performance than a human being. Further, the serious point which much of the recent hysteria seems to have missed, is that the most critical aspect is not something related to the accuracy of the sensors or the software, but instead the complex dynamics between the human and the robot. The human centred design issues of communication, identity, social interaction, trust and ethics will be the far more difficult nuts to crack than the accuracy of the sensors in the rain or snow. Fortunately, centres such as HCDI are working hard to get to grips with these critical matters.