Dear reader,

sure hope you're not a Tesla owner already furious because of this headline, it's not my intention to antagonize. I ask the question "should self-driving vehicles be banned in Montana?" out of genuine concern based on some news stories I've read, and to be honest, a bias against using AI or autopilot for something as potentially dangerous as driving a vehicle. I mean, I've seen Terminator 2 after all.

The first time I ever saw Tesla's autopilot feature in action was from a MMA fighter's video of himself playing his Nintendo Switch while on the freeway back in 2019. So I guess you could say that autopilot had a bad first impression with me. Of course you're not supposed to take your hands off the wheel even when the autopilot is on, but it's no surprise people break that rule.

Since then there's been incident after incident, which erodes my trust in these vehicles with each crash. The most recent example I can think of was last Thanksgiving when self-driving Tesla caused an 8-car crash in San Francisco. 9 people were injured, including a 2-year-old boy according to ABC News. The video was released a few weeks ago, here it is below:

The topic of banning this or that has come up twice this year already, there was the whole gas stove fiasco and there's a bill in Wyoming that aims to support phasing out the sale of all electric vehicles by 2035. I don't think either of those bans will happen, but it makes me wonder if a wider discussion about banning self-driving vehicles is on the way.

So should self-driving vehicles be banned in Montana? My underwhelming answer is I'm not sure. I'd need to see data on the rate of autopilot failure compared to any other kind of mechanical failures that cause accidents. But I'll say this, I'm not getting in one of those Skynet mobiles anytime soon.


Christian Grant

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