I don’t know about you, but this whole autonomous car thing doesn’t sit well with me. The thought of someday someone taking away that feeling of griping the steering wheel or the sensation of you get when you put your right foot to the floor and get thrown back in your seat. Even if you aren’t an “auto enthusiast”, that feeling is almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face, how long the smile stays on your face will is what separates the car people from the not-car people. Why would anyone ever want to take that away from us as a human race? The automobile is one of the greatest things to happen to mankind. Nothing gave a person more sense of freedom than when you were 16 years old and alone in a car for the first time after getting your license to drive. Now kids will just tap something into a screen or say where they want to go and away the car goes.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely naive to the benefits that come with self driving cars. No more drunk driving, no more accidents, you could just kick back and relax, or work on that article that you’ve been meaning to write. That all makes sense, it really does. In my opinion what needs to happen is first, it has to be 100% optional, second there would still need to be cars that were totally old school and driven by real human beings instead of a robot. It makes sense for there to be a self driving car service, almost like a cab system for public transportation service, but the only bad thing about that is that puts a substantial amount of people out of a job. I know the drivers at Uber would be pissed right off as they will probably be the service that takes over it all.
I realize that I might be in the minority on this subject. Some people think this is the greatest thing in the world. But lets talk about some of the potential bad things about it, again aside from the whole Skynet thing, what about hacking and things like that? Would some child prodigy be able to hack into my car and make me go where he wants me to go? What about the fact that the car is being driven by a computer and even the best computers freeze up sometimes and need a good old power cycle to make them work right again. Am I going to need to pull over from time to time and do a Ctrl+Alt+Delete so that I can get to the movie theater before the previews end? In my future scenario, I’m going to see the new Batman Vs Superman 3 The Final Saga, so I damn sure don’t want to miss the first few minutes. Another thing is what about changing weather conditions, that has to factor into it as it’s one of the biggest constraints right now for self-driving cars. How Do I know that whoever programmed this car to drive is a better driver than I am in the snow? Not likely unless Ken Block trades in his Hoonigan empire to become a programmer.
Speaking of Ken Block, what would happen to motor sports? Would the term “Off-Road” suddenly become anything that is off the grid or driven by a human not relative to whether it is on or off actual pavement or tarmac? Is the Gymkhana 12 Video just going to be a special program that’s been uploaded to the cars mainframe and its some crazy tuned car that can do the whole gymkhana performance at 200+ mph all shot by drones in 4k slow motion? Well damn that actually sounds really cool and totally counterproductive to my point, so forget I said that.
OK so Maybe I’m being slightly dramatic about the whole thing. So what if the Google Car has driven a million miles with nothing more than a minor accident or two. Well thats actually pretty impressive, but still!