Driverless car in my future? No way
Friday December 30, 2016
I’m generally a fan of new tech, although usually not as an early adopter.
This will be particularly true when the self-driving cars become available to the general public, now expected within the next few years.
Why am I not itching to get my hands on one? Well, for one thing, my hands are apparently not needed in tomorrow’s driverless car world.
Nor will my feet, or my eyes.
Or my brain.
No, those physical human attributes of driving as we’ve known it for the past 100 years or so are gradually being turned over to a machine with its own brain programmed by the finest techno-nerds in the nation.
And I know all of their computations will have my utmost personal safety in mind.
But that doesn’t help sway my feeling that turning over my driving to a machine and kicking back to zoom down the road with my eyes closed isn't a great idea.
Simply put, it goes against everything this Boomer has ever been taught or believed about the fine art of driving.
For me and no doubt millions of others, driving is not a chore or something to be avoided.
It’s freedom – the freedom to go anywhere, whenever I want and to take any route I wish, even if it isn’t the most direct or most economical or least environmentally destructive.
I understand why driverless cars are appealing to some, particularly to those living in big cities or places where traffic and parking is hellish.
It’s also appealing to the blind and otherwise disabled folks who struggle to get themselves around.
I do see that, for those people, driverless cars may represent their freedom to be part of the human experience of getting from Point A to Point B without relying on another human being.
But for the average person – someone who doesn’t live in a traffic-congested place and who has all of his or her faculties and physical abilities – the idea of turning their driving over to a machine is just not something they’ll likely want to do.
Look, we know the car companies are working on perfecting a driverless car (if that’s even possible) and that “driverless” vehicles – to one degree or another – are inevitable.
And I say driverless cars will no doubt have a place on the roads and highways of the future. But will we reach a point where every vehicle on the road has no human driver?
God, I hope not.
I’m all for safer streets and riding a bike and using public transportation and Uber and Lyft and the democratization of the driving experience -- but not at the price of my driving freedom.
Some are predicting driverless cars will be widely available by 2025 and perhaps even required by law by 2050.
Of course, I don’t plan to be driving in 2050. Just isn’t in the cards.
But I intend to keep driving my own self as long as I’m physically capable.
Because driving – for me -- is fun.
So let those who’d rather tell their vehicles where they want to go so they can check their email on their smartphones or play games on their laptops or just kick back and snooze and trust their vehicle to get them to their destination in one piece – let them enjoy all of that “freedom.”
For me, I will keep on enjoying the experience of driving – with all of its headaches – and the freedom and joy it holds.
And hopefully avoid getting creamed by some driverless vehicle.
Read futurist Thomas Frey's slightly different take on driverless vehicles here.