by Mike –
“Autonomous cars are coming on really fast,” says long time writer and My Car Quest contributor Wallace Wyss. “Not only are the big name brands engineering them but names the public hasn’t heard of are jumping in.”
Wyss has released this mock-up cover of a book which he says “will take stock of the autonomous field to show the public where we are now, at least what has been revealed so far.”
Though known for his 16 books on collector cars, Wyss actually started his writing career doing part-time publicity for the Biomechanics Research Institute in Detroit, Michigan, in the early days of air bags and laminated glass research.
“The book has no bias toward one make or another,” Wyss says. For the first 80% of the book, it is purely a recounting, month by month, of events involving autonomous cars such as the Tesla crash that killed a show-off driver and the subsequent successful Tesla saving of its passenger by anticipating an accident ahead before it happened.
“It was that last incident that pushed me toward writing a book,” says Wyss. “Ironically I had been submitting an Op-Ed to various national newspapers urging going slow on autonomous cars when I saw the footage of the Tesla in Holland predicting an accident that hadn’t even happened yet. I was bowled over because in effect I–and the world–were seeing the future.”
In a sharp change from his nostalgia car-oriented books, he says he will be going philosophical in tone in the last few chapters, quoting experts on robotics and psychology. And then asking open-ended questions about whether the public is ready for the sweeping changes autonomous cars will make once they reach the road in sizable numbers.
“I see the biggest obstacle to across-the-board implementation as not the mechanics or software, but the outcome of still-to-come legal fights.” To sample what type of battles he sees coming, Wyss has volunteered to, on My Car Quest, publish five different scenarios, one every few days, to see what readers think about what will inevitably happen once the robots take the wheel.
“When those accidents occur,” he says “some of them will lead to huge court decisions that will determine just how fast autonomous cars will be able to come on stream in mass quantities.”
That looming legal war accounts for Wyss’ choice of the word “battle” in the subtitle. “Right now, the consumer benefits all look wonderful,” he says, and his mock-up cover indeed shows a rose-tinted view. “But in the last part of the book I’ll be talking about the ripple effects which will be a lot larger than anyone thinks, affecting employment, the GNP, life-styles–everything.”
Wyss has talked to one publisher about the book but has secured no commitment yet. Due to the fast changing pace of autonomous cars, he is willing to talk to anyone who wants to be in the publishing field who has sufficient funds to get the ball rolling, and who wants to see this title hit the stores within 11 months.”
Wallace Wyss can be reached by email – click here.
I have published a short series on the subject of self-driven cars, click here to read it.
One of my Sunday Funny Pages is also on this subject.
Let us know what you think in the Comments.