Rules of the road evade driverless cars

An autonomous car at a press presentation in the French city of Sotteville-les-Rouen earlier this year. Legal questions from traffic rules to liability in an accident ultimately will determine whether consumers  decide if they can live with driverl
An autonomous car at a press presentation in the French city of Sotteville-les-Rouen earlier this year. Legal questions from traffic rules to liability in an accident ultimately will determine whether consumers  decide if they can live with driverless cars, or can't live without them. With autonomous vehicles, decades-old traffic rules become ambiguous. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

People have been imagining driverless cars since at least 1958, when Walt Disney Co aired Magic Highway USA. It's been six decades, and we're still talking about them.

Initially, evolution in transport had been a product of necessity: As we moved from horse-drawn carriages to horseless ones, from steam engines to internal combustion, each development improved distance and speed. Then came luxuries like comfort and fuel efficiency.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2018, with the headline 'Rules of the road evade driverless cars'. Subscribe