Question:

These new robot cars, in which one sits studying one’s Gemara as the car zooms along the highway of its own volition, already exist. They will soon be normal all over the world. If one’s robot has already been programmed, can one go to shul in such a thing on Shabbos? Questions here might involve muktzeh, machtie es haRabim, etc. My question assumes total autonomy for the robot, so that all the Shabbosdik driver does is get in and sit down. Would it be like a Shabbos clock or a blecher?

Answer:

I don’t believe the Rabbis will allow it. The Rambam writes that the reason the Rabbis saw it necessary to institute muktzah is so that the atmosphere of Shabbos as a day of rest is maintained.

Sources:

Rambam Shabbos end of Chap.24, Introduction Mishnah Berurah 308.

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