Peter Norton: The Illusory Promise of High-Tech Driving


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Can driverless cars really be the “safe, sustainable, and inclusive ‘mobility solutions’ that tech companies and automakers are promising us”? In his newest book, Autonorama: The Illusory Promise of High-Tech Driving, technology historian Peter Norton argues that we should treat these utopian promises about driverless vehicles with a great deal more caution and skepticism.

Autonorama exposes how, from its inception in the Depression era, the automobile was a subject of controversy; believe it or not, not everyone initially wanted cars around. Over time, however, a shift occurred that caused us to see automobiles as the solution, and a not a problem, for our transportation needs in cities.

Today on the Strong Towns Podcast, host Chuck Marohn is interviewing Peter Norton about Autonorama. They discuss the history behind our shift in perception toward cars—up to our current societal fixation on driverless cars, the wrong answer for a problem we can solve with resources we already have, and without doing further harm to ourselves and the environment.

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