Updated January 26, 2017 at 3:30 PM EST

Update November 4, 2021: note that the Twitter handle embedded in the image of the tweet referring to Tesla is incorrect; Tesla’s handle is @Tesla

After months of seeing major tech brands compete with announcements about their leadership in the self-driving car space and a CES 2017 event in Las Vegas that was almost about cars more than it was about consumer technology, the autonomous car feels closer to reality than ever. But before these self-guided masses of steel and gasoline speed around our public roadways, we first have to ask – just because we can have self-driving cars, should we?

We opened this question up to the public (and what better way to get a pool of different thoughts and opinions from diverse groups of people than a Twitter chat?) and came to one conclusion: self-driving cars are a tough pill to swallow. Though many remain optimistic about innovative technology driving change, it’s up to us – the consumers, future drivers and pedestrians on the streets of an autonomous car world – to stay curious about new technology because it is the future.

The chat followed a recent blogging contest that ITBusiness.ca hosted for the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) National Business Technology Management student competition.

Thanks again to everyone who joined the conversation. Read on for some of the most memorable Tweets from the discussion, and learn more about our guest experts:

Steven Waslander, director of the Waterloo Autonomous Vehicles Laboratory (WAVE)


Also an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering Department at the University of Waterloo, Waslander’s research interests are autonomous aerial and ground vehicles. He collaborates with Waterloo, Ont.-based robotics firms such as Aeryon Labs, Clearpath Robotics, and Nuvation, as well as being a member of the NSERC Canadian Field Robotics Network. He’s the academic advisor to the University of Waterloo student teams that make autonomous vehicles for competitions such as NASA’s Sample Return Robot Challenge. He recently spoke with us about how he led a team that created software that was on display at CES 2017 in Renesas Electronics America’s highly autonomous car.

 Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada

Alex Miller, president, Esri Canada

Miller founded Esri Canada in 1984 and had helmed the company through three decades of growth. As a pioneer of GIS and digital mapping in Canada, he’s designed the geographic information systems and techniques that have become the foundation for many mapping applications. He’s an expert in using digital mapping technology for building smart communities and sees this as the path to implementing self-driving cars. Miller is a member of the Ontario Chamber of commerce’s Ontario Business Advisory council.




Q1) What do you think are the biggest misconceptions people have about self-driving cars? #ITWCchats

Q2a) @aarawji says hackers can compromise self-driving car systems to get data about drivers http://www.itbusiness.ca/blog/a-bump-in-the-road-can-autonomous-vehicles-do-more-harm-than-good/83634 #ITWCchats

Q2b) Do you think collecting personal data is necessary for self-driving cars, even if there’s a risk? #ITWCchats

Q3) Is it too soon for self-driving cars to share the road with human drivers? When will it happen at scale? #ITWCchats

Q4a) A Telsa driver was killed while using autopilot mode @MathiasCaron2 asked who should take the blame http://www.itbusiness.ca/blog/the-dream-of-the-future-the-autonomous-car/83683 #ITWCchats

Q4b) At what point do ‘drivers’ stop being responsible for what happens when they’re in the car? #ITWCchats

Q5a) @EnoTrans says human error is the main cause of 90% of crashes, but @UMich says self-driving cars had higher crash rates #ITWCchats

Q5b) Will self-driving cars really reduce accidents on the road, or be even more faulty than humans? #ITWCchats

Q6a) This MIT ‘game’ has players choose who dies when a self-driving car has a brake failure http://moralmachine.mit.edu/ #ITWCchats

Q6b) How will this problem be solved when self-driving cars are in the wild? #ITWCchats

Q7) What is the biggest challenge self-driving cars and their drivers will have to overcome on the road? #ITWCchats

Q8a) Autonomous cars are increasing efficiency & making a more productive economy, says @Pachchigar27 http://www.itbusiness.ca/blog/driving-into-the-future-hands-free-are-we-there-yet/83713 #ITWCchats

Q8b) At the same time, it could eliminate the jobs of cab drivers. Is that worth the trade off? #ITWCchats

Q9) Would you trust a self-driving car to chauffeur you around today? Five years from now? #ITWCchats 

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