There's quite an interesting discussions in the comments section to yesterday's post about self-driving cars. A number of people are clearly doing more thinking than the technologists and bureaucrats pushing this concept on a (mostly) unwilling public. It's worth your time to see what a good security brainstorming session looks like.
I want to expand on this here, because it seems that the biggest obstacles are not technical, but rather social. Here are some, in no particular order:
1. Self-driving cars will never be cool. The lure of the open road has left Americans spellbound for generations. The nerd playing X-Box 2025 will never be as cool as this, ever:
The Rebel lacks a cause, but meekly complies with all traffic ordinances. I think it's quite a serious mistake to bet against cool.
2. You can't get rid of non-self driving cars. Look at this car:
This car is not cheap, and more importantly is only driven infrequently as a hobby. So think about who owns a car like this - it's not some backwoods redneck, it's someone with serious wealth. If there's one thing that is abundantly clear it's that rich people don't take well to the Government taking away their hobbies. So the self-driving car systems will be forced to deal with non-self driving cars.
3. Government Agencies exist to collect power for the Government Agency. We can expect that they will be the biggest backers of mileage limits.
Make people fly more, so you will need more TSA screeners. The proof? TSA is already trying to get into the train travel and roadblock business.
None of these are technology objections, they are societal limitations on deploying a system that will live up to the billing. The system simply cannot improve road use, or mileage, or safety, because society won't let this happen.