Watch LeBron James Nervously Ride Backseat in a Self-Driving Car
Intel's latest promo video gives us an endorsement for self-driving cars.
Intel loves showing off its new technology, whether it's using its hugely successful Intel Inside ad campaign, or pinching off its freshest pick of the proverbial bushel, NBA superstar LeBron James. But other than the mention of Intel, there's no real branding, just a company playing follow-the-leader to let the public know that it's okay to trust autonomous cars.
We get it, you're worried about taking a ride in a self-driving car, no matter how much you've been reassured that it's safe. It's only natural to be concerned about something that's not tried and true, so what better way for a company to help ease the worry than by hiring a celebrity to show you that you have nothing to worry about?
The commercial begins by showing a skeptical LeBron eyeing up his masqueraded ride, even commenting on the "lack of a driver" as the vehicle pulls up to him. Despite the worry, the basketball player takes a seat in the car like you or I might reluctantly slip into a roller coaster for the first time. After the ride, he wants to keep the car for himself, overjoyed by his ride in a brand new technology.
Full disclosure, the car LeBron rode in actually wasn't autonomous. The farce was created due to a scheduling conflict between the car's availability, as well as the celebrity's.
Hopefully knowing the truth won't sway you away from putting your trust in an autonomous car. Just in case, know that Intel wasn't the only company to put out an ad campaign on this topic recently. Even Google's parent company, Alphabet, began to run a campaign for its autonomous driving company, Waymo, to teach the public the same thing: it's okay to trust technology.
The future of driving is pretty uncertain right now. You or I might not believe in a driverless future, but that's likely because we won't live to see it. In reality, regulation is very necessary but does takes time, and public trust takes even more, especially when the public takes a fairly conservative approach to autonomy as a whole. Manufacturers are working tooth-and-nail to make autonomous driving a very real possibility in the near future. Some manufacturers are even betting on autonomous ride sharing being cheaper than a bus ticket.
So should we trust self-driving cars just because a celebrity does? Absolutely not. But we should be putting our faith in the engineers who are working to improve the technology, and encourage our local legislators to learn about the industry so that they can provide reasonable and safe regulations on autonomy. Autonomy is coming, and it's happening faster than one might think. You've likely already driven on the same road as a Tesla using Autopilot mode, and one day soon, it very well might be the norm.
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