It had to happen eventually. The first fatal accident in a Tesla self-driving car. And of course some commentators have been quick to jump on ‘The Sky-Is-Falling’ bandwagon like ‘The Guardian’, who suggest consumers will ‘second-guess the trust they put in the booming autonomous vehicle industry’. And I’m sure Henry Bliss would agree; if he were still alive. Mr. Bliss has the unfortunate distinction of being the first recorded person in US history to be killed in a motor vehicle accident on September 14, 1899. Like the recent Tesla accident, at the time many commentators were no doubt quick to voice alarm and FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about the dangers of this emerging ‘horseless-carriage’ technology. At first glance it seems a natural, even appropriate human reaction, to treat new and strange contraptions with skepticism; for some that means sticking our fingers in our ears and yelling: “la la, la, la, la, la”?
With CERA closing its doors for the last time yesterday; I was reflecting on my nearly five years of involvement at CERA including the design, implementation and direction of their world-leading spatial data infrastructure (SDI). Notwithstanding the CERA SDI winning the Technical Excellence category at the inaugural 2014 NZ Spatial Excellence Awards, most of those five years was so full-on there was little time for reflection. Before CERA and the events from 2011 to 2016 pass into the annuals of history; myself with friend and colleague Stephen Ferriss took some time out to reflect on and capture what happened in Christchurch, what we learnt and the possibilities and implications for the geospatial sector; indeed, the Whole of Government. This is assembled in the linked whitepaper on which we would encourage and welcome comment and discussion.