So, what the heck is the point of even owning one?
Despite Tesla's 'Autopilot,' and other misleading names of semi-autonomous systems, mainstream self-driving cars do not exist yet. Believing otherwise is simply dangerous and we have already seen accidents caused by drivers' overconfidence in such systems. A drunk driver in California even told police he shouldn't be charged with a DUI because his Tesla Model 3 was operating on Autopilot.
Clearly, some people do not understand the limitations of semi-autonomous technology, which is why tech companies would like to place added barriers to it. While we agree that autonomous cars need to have limits, a recent patent filing by Chinese tech company Huawei is certainly not what we had in mind.
In a filing with the European Patent Office, Huawei outlined a "self-learning” car interior, which would be able to detect when a person is drunk and deactivate the controls. The system would also be able to report the driver to the police if it detects alcohol or drugs in the car.
Pardon our skepticism here but aren't autonomous cars supposed to enable people to get where they need to go without them having to manually control it? If the car will simply call the police when you attempt to use it while drunk, why not just drive a regular car and call an Uber or taxi when you go out drinking?
The patent mentions "a plurality of sensors configured to obtain images," which in addition to be able to detect alcohol, would also be able to scan for phones, drugs or weapons. The system would also detect when the driver is distracted, frustrated or drowsy, which is how we feel most of the time when stuck in stop-and-go traffic.