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Making Waves

Driverless Bus

Claire

By Claire McCormack

A tough start for a driverless bus in Las Vegas this month that got  into a fender bender it's first day on the job.

A truck backed up into it

It stopped to avoid the crash as programmed, but some say it should have known to reverse.

Or, it should have had a driver.

They say pilotless planes could save airlines billions of dollars.

I'm pretty sure the 100 or so passengers on Captain Sullenberger's 2009 flight, "The miracle on the Hudson" were happy to have a human pilot save their lives by crash landing on the river in New York City.

An inquiry showed a simulator would likely have calculated with devastating consequences.

It was no match for the wealth of experience Sully had under his pilot's cap.

A published lecture on critical decision making by a US Professor of Management Michael A. Roberto recounts the tale of a fire chief whose crew was battling a blaze around the area of a kitchen stove that just wouldn't go out.

It felt hot in the room, and it was just a little bit quiet. He wasn't sure why at the time, but ordered his crew out of the house.

The chief called it ESP. Roberto argued it was years of experience.

The eerie quiet and the unusual heat turned out to be a massive blaze raging up from the basement below, threatening the floor they all stood on.

A computer doesn't process sounds, smells, heat, sight, and experience. It doesn't have that sense, and it doesn't have that sense of responsibility to other people-- to want to keep them safe.

A recent study by a Swiss Bank (USB) says only 17 per cent of people are willing to fly without a pilot.

Call it human ESP, call it whatever you want.

But next time I'm in Vegas, I'm not putting my money on the driverless bus.










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