Imagine that tomorrow morning you’ll get in your car, you tell the computer inside that you want to go to your workplace, and your car will drive you there. Without anymore input from you. The computer will drive, all automatically. Sounds crazy? Far from it, according to Sebastian Thrun, a software engineer from Google, who explains on the company’s official blog that several cars are already driving by themselves using Google’s technology.
They drove so well that they’ve already done more than 140,000 miles all around California. That, always with a driver behind the wheel, doing nothing, but ready to take back control of the car, where the software to fail somehow. But that didn’t happen, or if it did Sebastian Thrun doesn’t blog about it. Explaining that these self-driving cars will free up drivers time and increase road safety (this point has yet to be proven), Sebastian Thrun concludes that this future is very exciting. I can’t agree with that.
Being some kind of an anti-geek, I don’t have a micro-wave oven in my house, because I have more joy cooking than opening a pack of frozen food. I love to drive. I love to be in control and my everyday car has a manual transmission. Automated forms of transport are nothing new. Millions of people take a train or a bus to go to work every morning, and I’ve never met anyone who told me he was happy to get into a suburban train. Whereas I know many people who enjoy driving their cars, exactly the way I do.
You can imagine a car with a computer inside, that already exists actually, you would google inside for a restaurant, and when found, the car will take you there with only click. That may be progress, but I think that sometimes, you need to get lost to find something. Who had never stopped somewhere, unexpectedly, because there was something on the way that needed a closer look? The car would drive itself, with the driver on facebook, he would have miss an opportunity…
Some young people are already like this. You take them to the sea, or to the mountains, they have no interest for either, because their eyes are glued to the smallish screen of their mobile phone. So the future of self-driving cars might be exciting for geeks, but not for car enthusiasts, nor people who quite simply, want to enjoy life.