Big Think recently ran a piece that had the feel of one of those “world of tomorrow” rhapsodies about how technology is going to change our lives for the better. The idea is that self-driving cars are going to make traffic jams, expensive urban parking, auto accidents, and even shopping trips obsolete. The future it paints, occurring as soon as 2030, is a beguiling one.
Let is suppose you are one of the people living in 2030 who is not working at home, as more and more people are even in 2017, and has to go into the office. Instead of taking your private car out of the driveway, you summon a self-driving car Uber-style and go to the office in comfort using the most efficient route. Instead of having to park at an expensive garage, the car leaves you in front of your building curbside and drives away to pick up another passenger. You have arrived less stressed and more rested having not had to battle traffic.
Very likely you do not own a private car, avoiding payments, insurance, and maintenance costs. You don’t have a hunk of expensive metal and plastic sitting in your driveway most of the time not doing anything.
What about weekend car trips to the country or a nearby city? Uber is working on an air taxi that might well serve that purpose, eliminating to long, exhausting drives. Or maybe a long distance version of the driverless car will be available at a premium.
What to go shopping? You can do it online and have a driverless drone deliver your items to you without having to go anywhere.
Driving has proven to be liberating for most people, compacting distances and opening up opportunities. But operating a motor vehicle in the modern world can be an exhausting, potentially dangerous task. With a self-driving car, the concept of drunk or distracted driving becomes a thing of the past.
To be sure, new dangers will arise. Terrorists will try to hack into self-driving cars to create death and mayhem on the road. Cyber security experts are going to have to be on constant guard to ward off such threats.
All in all, the hassle if driving one’s own vehicle, after a period of adaptation, will not likely be missed, except by an eccentric few. For the rest, the future will be a time to pester grandpa and grandma about what it was like to actually have to drive yourself. #The World