We are told, almost everyday now, that pretty soon self-driving, intelligent, autonomous cars will replace our human-driven machines. For all the major changes in ways and habits that that entails, it is not likely that cars suddenly turn into an entirely new entity. They will remain cars, and like the present-time cars, you are going to need to buy and sell them.
So let’s spend a few minutes speculating on how the second-hand market for autonomous car would look like. It is almost a given that these cars, especially when they first arrive on the scene, will be quite pricey. And it follows that for most people their first fully-autonomous experience is going to be with a second-hand purchase. What are the main things then, one should be aware of when looking through the ads for a good second-hand self-driving car?
For starters, not many of current your second-hand buying skills will be relevant in the age of autonomous cars. Well, at least, if what car makers are telling us is not nonsense. What they’re telling us is, one of the main benefits of self-driving cars is the total compliance of these things with the rules of the road. They can also communicate with each other. They are never drowsy, never distracted, never under the weather. All of that means, autonomous cars – at least in theory – will never get into accidents. So checking a second-hand autonomous car for accident damage would be redundant. You may just want to have a technician – or an AI software – go thorough the onboard electronics and operating system to make sure they are in order. But that is about as much as you can do vis-a-vis checking the running gear.
The main concern of a second-hand autonomous buyer should be the interior. With cars driving themselves, the occupants are free to do whatever they want in the back – or the front – of the automobile. Some may treat it like a bar. Some may use it as a bedroom. Some may even put in a shower. It is not impossible. So you want to choose a self-driving car with an interior that is best suited to your needs. And upon getting it, you want to have it customized, or at the very least thoroughly washed! I mean, car interiors are usually filthy even when people spend most of their time in them driving. So you can imagine what they may get up to when they are 100 percent free to do in there whatever takes their fancy.
A major concern with second-hand autonomous cars, for us at least, would be security. And we don’t mean how these things might behave on the road and how they might solve the trolley problem. We’re talking about your privacy, which is linked directly to your security. Even today with the “old-fashioned” cars, when owners sell their cars you need to make sure you delete all your points of interest and saved addresses from the sat nav. If you have stored personal data on the car’s infotainment, you need to clear those as well. Now, a lot of people forget these very basic things. So when it comes to selling their autonomous cars – a thing that knows exactly where they have been, how long they have been there, and what route they took – they are almost certainly going to overlook it.
The autonomous car probably saves all this data on its computer for future reference. Even if you do clear its history before selling the car, how hard do you think it is for a hacker – or even a novice computer coder – to extract that information? You thought smartphones were a compromise on privacy? Wait until the self-driving cars come into focus!