As I sat in Washington DC traffic this morning, I contemplated what life would be like if I got to stretch out in my car watching a movie or catching up on email vs. what I was doing, which sucked. The purist in me wants to row my own gears, find that perfect back road and just enjoy driving. The commuter in me is, at times, starting to hate being in a car period. Which brought me to contemplating the autonomous car.
The technology is here, and for the most part, it works, and is being lobbied for expanded use. Jalop has started to covered it, still waiting on that follow up Torchinsky! So that brings me to the question of "what now"? In theory, there could be an infrastructure built for something like this, I envision passing a sensor on the road where the autonomous aspect would take over on major thoroughfares, highways, or just generally heavily congested roads. Do I want it to be a mandatory feature that will mean I can never control a car again for enjoyment (outside of a track)? Most certainly, no. So what is the happy medium?
Some will be OK with never driving again, which I assume is why Google used the Prius as a testbed. They don't care about cars, the see their vehicle in the same light as their washing machine, and appliance for getting to and from places they want to go. This explains the overall success of Toyota Motor Company, but I digress (#corollafication). For these people, if their autonomous car takes them to the store up the street, or on a cross country road trip, they will relinquish the reins willingly.
Others will worry that "the man" is in control and won't want "no fancy 'puters" in control of their safety. "Dang thing is gonna blue screen, I know it". These people already don't like how much tech is in their 98 Taurus and will not embrace the autonomous car when it arrives officially.
At this point I find myself in the middle. As an auto enthusiast who enjoys cars, has spent many years racing, I don't want to fully give up control to the car. But maybe part of that hour commute (each way) I would be willing to let the car do the work.