Reply To: Elon Musk’s Shabbos Car

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philosopher: A lighting fixture, with or without a Shabbos clock, does the same amount of work with or without you doing anything. A light does not burn brighter if someone is, or is not, using it. Appliances with a Shabbos mode that turn off at predicted time so they can be opened (which increases activity) also “solve” the problem.

A self-driving car, even if set on clock that causes the doors to open and close at certain times regardless of whether anyone is getting in or out, and travel only on a fixed route (even if empty) would still raise an issue since the motor would have to do more work based on the number of humans involved (one should now ask if a “Shabbos mode” refrigerator or oven uses a thermostat which would mean the heavier use put on it the more the motor runs. This will lead to a debate on whether one can use a robotic Shabbos goy.

It should be noted the some reputable people that using electricity does not violate “mavir” and if one holds that way, the only objection to using an electric car or an ebook would be that it isn’t “Shabbos-dik” (shvus).