While many regulatory barriers stand in the way of fully autonomous cars hitting the road, like figuring out if you need a drivers license to drive one, one expert on self-driving cars is raising concerns about something you haven't thought about yet: people banging when they don't need to keep their hands on the wheel.
Rush hour radio might need a lot fewer weather reports and a whole lot more Barry White.
"I am predicting that, once computers are doing the driving, there will be a lot more sex in cars," Barrie Kirk of the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence (CAVCOE) told the Toronto Sun. "That's one of several things people will do which will inhibit their ability to respond quickly when the computer says to the human, 'Take over.'"
Experts have raised other concerns about self-driving cars, including their ability to handle extreme weather situations and having a firm understanding of human impulsivity (have you seen people cross the street in New York?). But obviously those are not as sexy to think about.
Does Kirk and CAVCOE (whose GeoCities-eque site is hopefully not correlated to their technical know-how) have evidence that this is the case? No. But you know it's true.
Fully autonomous cars that require next-to-no driver intervention are inching closer and closer to the marketplace. The Business Insider Institute even projects 20 million self-driving cars will be on the road by 2020.
This could really change your association of that "new car smell."
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Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record, but has never met the fingernail lady. He’s written for Sports Illustrated, Men’s Journal, The Rumpus, and other digital wonderlands. Follow him @dlukenelson.