Run darkie, self-driven cars may not see you

Vusi Nzapheza Straight & 2 Beers

Depending on your source, the world's first automobile accident occurred in Ohio in 1891.

Lambert's vehicle hit a tree root, causing the car to careen out of control and smash into a hitching post. Lambert and his passenger, James Swoveland, lived to tell the tale.

Mary Ward was not so lucky. She was thrown from her car when she took a corner too fast, in the era before the seat belts. She died on impact from a broken neck.

This shows that people have been crashing cars for as long as cars have been around. All the advancements in technology to make cars safer have borne scant results.

Modern cars may have become more comfortable than the steam engines of old, but human error still accounts for needless loss of lives on the roads. On Wednesday, a taxi driver mowed down three pupils when he allegedly skipped a red light in Durban.

It happens too often and statistics tell a grim tale. To eliminate human error, automobile manufacturers are warming up to the idea of self-driving carts. Although I relish the pleasure of sticking a key in the ignition and engaging the gears, I am the first to see the advantages of self-driving cars. First of all, driving interferes with my drinking. I cannot wait for the day when after a night of imbibing, I can get in the car and tell it to get me home while I slump in the back with a one-night stand.

There are also many activities that have suffered while we wilt behind the wheel. I can think of many things I'd rather do instead of driving, such as reading or having sex.

But as with many technological advances, tests for self-driving cars have not gone smoothly.

Self-driving cars have proven to be as reckless as Bree Street taxi drivers with a couple of accidents reported.

What I was not ready for are self-driving cars with racism to rival the apartheid police dogs trained to attack only black people. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology found that self-driving cars have a racist bias that makes them more likely to drive into black people.

Their state-of the-art detection systems such as sensors and cameras are better at detecting people with lighter skin tones. That makes them less likely to spot black people and stop before crashing into them.

While pedestrians need to wear reflective clothes to be noticed by motorists, self-driving cars will deliberately "unsee" black people. Imagine having a menage a trois in the back seat from a club at night and the next thing my limo connects with a darkie. Nothing kills passion like a car accident.

I did come across a darkie-loving car though. Bugatti launched its La Voiture Niore hyper sports car at the Geneva motor show this week.

The name actually means "The Black One". Priced at a whopping R176m, this makes it the most expensive automobile in the world. I was about to place an order for the car when I was informed only one will be made. Anyway, for that amount I expected a sexbot and a year's supply of expensive champagne but I was horrified that it still needed to be petrolised and driven.

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