Government Control of Your Freedom Machine

You are about to lose control of your automobile. The final threat to driving a car all by yourself was delivered recently when none other than the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it wants to speed the adoption of vehicle-to-vehicle communication.

Until now, NHTSA has focused primarily on how passengers can be protected in crashes. But its sudden interest in car-to-car communication shifts the balance to eliminating the crashes altogether.

We already live in an age when cars will automatically brake for you if you get too close to an object, and we’re about to enter the era of intersection assistance and left-turn assistance in which your car will beep at you or simply refuse to respond to the accelerator if it detects a risky situation as you begin a left turn or enter an intersection.

It won’t be long before your car will be capable of making all your driving decisions and your highway speed will be controlled by computers in cars that talk to each other. That may happen this month.

General Motors has already announced it will introduce a Cadillac in 2017 with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication readiness. Tesla announced nearly two years ago that it was working on V2V for its S model, a change it can send out overnight by software update to every Tesla Model S owner.

And of course, Tesla, Audi and Google are leading the way toward autos that can drive themselves. The automobile has always typified the American experience of freedom — you can get in and go anywhere you want whenever you want and even choose your own style of driving.

I fear the days of the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash are surely coming to an end. How sad. Before long, you won’t be able to pass that idiot in front of you unless your car gives you permission.

To your health and wealth,

Stephen L. Petranek
for The Daily Reckoning

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