My Car Quest

July 23, 2024

New Book Predicts Autonomous Cars Coming On Fast

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.”

Autonomous Cars by Wallace Wyss

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.”

Autonomous Cars

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.”

Click here to read Autonomous Cars – Question No. 1.

Click here to read Autonomous Cars – Question No. 2.

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.



Google self-driven car - Source: Google

Google self-driven car – Source: Google

New Book Predicts Autonomous Cars Coming On Fast
Article Name
New Book Predicts Autonomous Cars Coming On Fast
The biggest obstacle to across-the-board implementation of autonomous cars is not the technology but the outcome of still-to-come legal fights.


  1. For most of the youth in America, the autonomous car has been around for a while. The first iteration was called “Mom” – you get in the car, she takes you wherever you need to go while you pound on your smartphone engaging none of the surroundings.

    Version 2 came about some years ago called “Uber” – no need to engage in conversation, just tap tap the need and the car appears.

    Autonomous vehicles will be our first foray into civilian robotics. Our cars are already trusted machines so it is the easiest and most effective leap into personal robotics. And yes, it is coming sooner than we think.

  2. Mike Clarke says

    I think the legal issues will be resolved quickly as governments will quickly seize the new opportunity to tax and control the market. This would include the ability to tax per mile rather than by gallon. Taxis would no longer be in private hands they would be run by the cities giving them the ability to set rates based on cities needs, This will allow cities to adjust rates with deep discounts for non citizens and higher rates for out of town non residents. The the autonomous car technology will also allow the state and police to monitor every cars position and have the ability to shut the car off in police events or non payment of DMV fees. Speed control can also be monitored and controlled allowing for better autonomous car moment in crowded cities.

    Using the Oregon Department of transportations 2007 study “Oregon’s Mileage Fee Concept and Road User Fee Pilot Program ” combined with California’s Air Resources Board mandates on autonomous car control for a better society California, Oregon and Washington will lead they way showing America how it’s done!

    The politicians won’t let this one get by them like they did with the internet. The autonomous car is a new opportunity for the government to help the masses.

  3. Being a part of the *Smart Cities* agenda, as first outlined by the white house in Sept.15th,2015( ie: ) and having just sat through the keynote address from this year’s CES conference in Las Vegas where Jensen Hsun-Huang , CEO of NVidia, outlines the new breakthroughs in gaming technology being successfully transferred over to the application of autonomous vehicles, i for one say ” bring it on!” if it means less auto-insurance rates to cover the elimination of those nimrods behind wheels that drive up auto insurance costs with accidents and allowing those that want to pay the extra cost for the *privilege* of piloting their own vehicles. Autonomous vehicles is just one piece of the entire *Smart Cities* puzzle and I. for one, am Four Square *For It*.

  4. Rob Maselko says

    I’m of the mindset that this is one more loss of privacy and personal freedom. Rather than give up human controlled driving in the name of safety, I’d insist that every driver take a driving course every 5 years in order to maintain their license. This would include accident avoidance, car control in inclement weather, and panic stopping. This would be so very inexpensive compared to the development of autonomous cars. Of course, I’m one of very few who feel that way. I don’t understand why everyone is in such a rush to give up personal control. Further, I’m very suspicious of overreaching government intervention. Once the computer controls the car, it’s a short leap to limiting where you’re able to go.

  5. ” Once the computer controls the car, it’s a short leap to limiting where you’re able to go.”
    Yeah, and the lawsuits on travel infringement will become legion. Who wants that legal headache not to mention the cumulative sums in damages awarded. Plus mandatory training doesn’t ensure a damn thing where the rubber meets the road and the front bumper meets the rear bumper or the side panel. You want the privilege to pilot your own vehicle, be prepared to pay extra for it. That’s all I’m advocating. Works for piloting airplanes and who said we should have *flying cars*. We’ve got enough problems just handling 2 dimensions; forget 3.

    • Mike Clarke says

      “You want the privilege to pilot your own vehicle, be prepared to pay extra for it”

      It’s Interesting how fast you determine the man who wants the ability to have freedom is going to pay more. IMO the man who wants to play video games in their autonomous car can pay more for that lack of responsibility?

  6. “It’s Interesting how fast you determine the man who wants the ability to have freedom is going to pay more.”
    Pay more than the already *reduced* rate due to lack of personal piloting of one’s vehicle which has a statistically *proven* track record of causing accidents. Fair trade in my book.
    “IMO the man who wants to play video games in their autonomous car can pay more for that lack of responsibility?”
    Now what sort of non-sequitur statement is that? Your obviously *not* taking hits dialogue seriously.

  7. “Your obviously *not* taking *this* dialogue seriously.”
    Forgive the digital ( as in fingers ) dyslexia

  8. The whole scenario is so Blade Runner / Terminator.
    All those who are for it can go into the citadel and those who don’t, clearly will not be able to be trusted and are consigned to the wastelands. As far as taxi’s and tracking the good citizens, imagine how non-acceptable it would be to pay with cash and not be tracked by your digital money.
    It is such a short reach from deciding to say NO to driving autonomously, to being lambasted as a danger to children, moms and civilisation as we know it. It is likely that the price of ‘freedom’ will probably mean you are not permitted to drive your manually managed ‘deathtrap’.
    Propaganda in the media, funded by the car companies and quasi government ‘Institutes’ or departments will begin to propound the benefits of autonomous cars and slide the hint about danger and security that will see ‘old dangerous and unsafe cars’ removed from the roads, will be all over the place within 1-3 years. I’d put money on it.

    • Tony,

      Your fears are justified.

      What about racing? I know this is a subject of interest to you. I wrote in part 3 of my series on self-driven cars,

      “Autonomous cars could be programmed to drive a road race car better than a human. The autonomous car could brake at just the right place, turn in at the perfect spot, hit the apex, turn out just right and move from braking to power perfectly. An autonomous racecar would do all of this every time on every turn on every lap. The race would then be a race between the engineers, the designers and builders of the autonomous racecars.”

      Read it here –

      BTW, Rob Maselko, our loss of privacy is not really related to self-driven cars – even non-self-driven cars of today have GPS systems that track our every move as do our smart phones. The car’s computer also tracks our driving habits as my wife discovered on her 2007 Mini when the dealer told her the reason for her battery failure was her driving habits (many short trips that did not recharge the battery from all the engine starts). So, the battery was not covered by the extended warranty because of her driving habits.

      Individual privacy is a thing of the past except for those who somehow get completely off the grid.

      • Wallace Wyss says

        There’s hints here in various comments that spell The Death of the Enthusiast.
        Once these self-driving cars are the norm, those pesky folk who still insist on driving their own cars will be increasingly viewed as “outlaws” and restricted as to where they can go. For instance, in “liberal elite” towns like Santa Monica, I can see a zone being established that only non-polluting electric cars, self-driven, can go in certain hours, and they will get the best parking places and their own lanes on the freeway with huge fines for humans who dare wander into those lanes driving their human-piloted cars.

        Not only that, autonomous cars will rat you out; self-reporting to authorities when you went over the speed limit, etc, and having documentation to prove it.You will be remotely fined, turned in by your own car. I suppose the State will give the car its own “snitch reward” though I don’t know what makes a robot happy…

  9. Mike Clarke says

    The car was the single most important invention that gave people freedom. You were no longer tied to your farm, you could escape the city, teenagers could get away from their parents………

    Ironic that the Autonomous car may take many of your freedoms away.

    I see the autonomous car working in a city environment well, but in the country where pick up trucks and off road chores are the norm I can see were there would need to be some type of hybrid system were the owner is allowed to drive the car.

    It will also be interesting to see what happens to the trucking industry, companies like UPS and FedX , Amazon having 20 mule teams, trucking across the USA nonstop with huge payloads resulting in lower cost shipping and a lot of unemployed truck drivers.

  10. Lee Butler says

    In 2015 traffic deaths in Minnesota was 411, up 14% from previous year. Let’s say that half could have been prevented by Autonomous cars. The Drunk driving- The in-attentive driver or the left turning vehicle in front of the oncoming vehicle. That would be a conservative number I think.

    Safety will be the main reason- Insurance Companies & Government will make it happen no doubt. Those Cities will collect taxes for sure on miles driven.

    The enthusiast will be relegated to track days. There may be a State that will charge a Toll where you can drive your old car- maybe Montana- A tourist destination of sorts? Towns will keep their antiquated stop lights and traffic signs
    for the old car enthusiasts to flock too. “See kids, this is how we used to get around!”

    These next 5-10 years will see the cross-over to autonomy as the hardest part. I don’t want to let go. I know that will change too. At 57 I still want to drive my TR-3 on nice Sunny days. In 10 years, getting in and telling the car where to take me may be OK. In 20 years, I will be all for it?

    Cost and fuel economy will be the 2nd reason this becomes inevitable.

    Kids graduating High School TODAY, will be the last of the self driving generation. Think about that! In 16 years, new “drivers” will tell the car where to take them.

    I hope I read in 2033 that traffic deaths in Minnesota are zero. Several Deer were hit and killed by vehicles, but no people died.

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