It used to be a far-flung idea more at home in the world of science fiction, but the Swedish car maker Volvo is bringing driverless cars a step closer by recruiting a hundred people to travel to work next year in computer controlled vehicles. That’s not all. The trial requires the volunteers to read a book, sent texts and e-mails or even watch TV while sitting behind the wheel. The company says the cars will be designed to deal with any emergency so that human won’t have to. Richard Wesker has been giving the technology a try.
To start with, Volvo’s volunteers will only use selected commuter routes. They’ve been picked because they don’t allow cyclists, pedestrians. And bear in mind, it’s Sweden, because they are regularly cleared of snow， the computer needs to see white lines. As we drove along amongst the lorries and buses, the man behind the technology pushed the button, let go of the wheel and started telling me about how it will work.
I mean, no one wants to say it out loud but computers can crash as well as humans, can’t they?
Oh yeah, computers can crash. So when we designed the system, we designed it with backup computers, with double breaking systems, double steering systems.
So the cars are gonna do this.
Driver may be sitting relaxed, reading. We can not count on him or her, so the car has to do it.
Will anyone actually want to do it? Will they want to commute in the morning with their hands off the steering wheel? Do you think it’s gonna be popular here, the idea of self driving cars?
No, not for us. I don’t think people trust them.
I think that it would be more safe if all the cars were driverless cars because then you take out the human factor.
Would you volunteer to try out the driverless car?
Yeah, why not?
I think they will be a bit scary to not be like able to, yeah, you don’t know where it’s gonna turn.
It could still take a decade or two, but eventually children will marvel at the idea that people actually used to drive their own cars.
What choices are there for men in Sweden who don’t want to be fathers if their partner is pregnant? Well, the youth wing of Sweden’s Liberty Party is proposing that men, like women, should have the right to decide whether or not to have a baby. This would allow them to opt out of paternity until the 18th week of pregnancy, the last week, in which a woman in the country can have a legal abortion.
We are proposing that a man can do legal abortion on paper and then he has no obligation to pay maintenance to the woman. And then he won’t have either obligations or duties or any rights against the child or the woman.