The driverless debate: Even in cars that are only semi-autonomous, drivers say they’ll text, eat and read – Los Angeles Times

Posted: Thursday, September 22, 2016

Until recently, there was no question about who’s responsible for an automobile’s operation: the driver. One-hundred percent.

Going forward, as driverless cars hit the roads en masse, that distinction will fade. When the robot cars get here, you’ll be able to eat, text and sleep, but you won’t drive, because there won’t be a steering wheel or brake pedal. Your only role: order the car where to go.

Yet there’s a lot of ground between the old-school cars that people are used to and the driverless experience promised in the next few years. Semi-autonomous cars with features such as self-parking, adaptive cruise control and automatic lane change are fast becoming a sizable portion of the auto industry. Most new cars today are offered with some kind of driver-assist technology package; the more expensive the car, the more advanced the feature set.

Though these cars will do much of their own driving, the human behind the wheel will continue to be responsible for the vehicle’s operation, as stipulated on the contract signed on purchase.

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