Sunday, February 07, 2016

Why I Can't Wait For Self Driving Cars

I love to drive.  It makes me feel good.  I like going places, seeing and experiencing things that aren't within walking distance.  I enjoy the act of driving there.  The journey is part of the experience.  Sometimes, the journey is the experience.  Having said all that, it surprised me when I realized that I'm looking forward to the arrival of self driving cars.  

Let me explain.  

Where I live, most of the roads are filled with drivers who are not good at driving.  They don't enjoy driving.  They don't want to drive.  How do I know this?  Because the majority of drivers are doing anything but driving.  They're talking on a cell phone.  Texting.  Eating (often with utensils!).  Putting on makeup.  Shaving.  Reading books, magazines, newspapers.  Relaxing and smoking a joint.  Playing an imaginary drum set.  Turning their heads to face their passengers, giving no attention to their forward path.  You can probably list more.

Many drivers have given up.  They seem to have abdicated their responsibilities to operate the car safely to the myriad electronic nanny systems.  They love their backup cameras, parking sensors, blind spot monitors, lane departure monitors, automatic headlamps, automatic windshield wipers, adaptive cruise control, and more.  These drivers are eager to blame the car manufacturer for their "accidents" and clutter up the courts with litigation.  These drivers don't like to drive.  They don't give it their attention.  They don't want to maintain or improve their skills.  They just don't care.  Simply put: most drivers are a threat to their passengers, pedestrians, and any person, pet or property nearby.  

I wouldn't go to a doctor (or dentist or lawyer) who isn't interested in doing a good job.  I don't want buildings and bridges to be built by engineers who don't care.  I could go on.  Those analogies fall apart, however, when you consider that those professionals are hired and payed to be experts in their field and that doesn't apply to random drivers on the road.

I'm excited about the future because, if we're lucky, these dangerous drivers will stop driving.  Self driving cars, along with the growth of ride sharing services like Uber, will help to get these people from behind the wheel and reduce the theat to the rest of us.

So, I have high hopes for Tesla, Google, and all the rest.  The future looks bright, even for those of us who will continue to drive our cars.

1 comment:

Joe said...

I think the new safety features in cars are a great step. I want it to be harder for people to hit me or my dog. When self driving cars are available, maybe driving exams can be made more challenging.