Are Driverless Vehicles Spooky?
It’s kind of spooky but exciting at the same time. I think it’s a given that driverless cars are coming. I’m not sure whether I really like the idea but it’s cool if it’s going to make our roads safer – at least I hope it will. And if our roads will be safer, then I guess that’s a really good thing. What doesn’t sit with me is that the fun of physically driving a car could be taken away, and I really like driving a car round corners, up hills and through the city streets. I hope travelling doesn’t become boring and less of an adventure.
Then there are the thousands of drivers who make a living from driving a vehicle. Just think of all taxi drivers, bus drivers or even truck drivers who could be made redundant. That’s not very cool in my book. Some people are driving their imaginary cars before they’re walking, and to have to deal with a loss of a job that you’ve built your life on would be a very hard pill to swallow. Goodness knows what other job will give them a sense of satisfaction. People might say they’ll find something else to do, but it’s not quite that simple having to start from the bottom up again – not to mention having to deal with the increase in job competition.
Self-driving cars are coming. Tesla is aiming to have their fully driverless car ready by 2018, and that’s not that far away! Many other companies have plans to produce some form of self-driving car by 2020. Uber is another driverless car manufacturer leading the way. I can see one hassle in the way, and that is that not everyone will be able to afford a brand new driverless car!
There is evidence that we are more likely to see a driverless truck in practice before a self-driving car. In much the same way a passenger aircraft is flown automated, we’re going to see the big rigs automated on our roads. If their speed is limited to the proper speed limits, that’s definitely a big plus in my book. Make sure that driver aids like cycle and pedestrian warning systems are standard on all trucks – particularly in the blind spot areas that run along the side of the trucks. If planes can be flown through fog and landed safely in auto mode, then that is a good thing. The systems on-board the aircraft can fly the plane better than a pilot in pretty much all situations – particularly in fog. Transfer that thought to a big rig steaming down our road in the wet, and the outcome for public safety can only be way better than a rig sliding out of control.
An alarm bell rings when I consider the potential terrorist risks that self-driven cars might bring. I’m sure the gurus behind the technology are well aware of this. When I think of that scary thought, my trusty old blue Navara TD23 double-cab doesn’t sound so bad after all. At least I’ll still be able to enjoy the fun of driving the old girl down to the river to pick up some firewood and let the dog out for a run and feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. I wonder if driverless 4x4s are on the agenda – that might be a test for the fancy radars!