Contemplating the Self-Driving Car (from someone who knows nothing of them but really really wants one)

The self-driving car is at the top of my wish list and I will be a seriously happy coder if I get to enjoy one within my lifetime.  My ideal self-driving car would be one that requires no intervention by passengers other than voice commands for mundane tasks such as “open window” or “turn on radio”.  The topics I discuss below are regarding this ideal type.

The impact of self-driving cars on the aged, the physically impaired, and the visually impaired will be off the charts high.  I remember a blind woman telling me years ago (long before amazon.com) how difficult it was to just buy dog food for her dog.  Something as simple as buying dog food meant she had to take the bus to the grocery store that was over 5 miles away and, with her small frame, it was nearly impossible getting herself, her walking stick, her dog and a huge bag of dog food onto the bus without a series of delays or injuries.

Another potential perk of the (convertible) self-driving car is sun bathing.  Can you imagine how tan and beautiful we would all be if we could catch rays during long drives to boring meetings?  I could see special fold down seats with 5-point seat belt harnesses to keep you safely locked in while lying down.  The only light my skin sees right now is from computer monitors – ick!  I want to look like those beautiful people in Rio! Don’t deny me self-driving car inventors! Don’t deny me!

My ten hour drives to Ohio will no longer be sprinkled with gripping the steering wheel in horror through torrential downpours while surrounded by big rigs.  Instead, I will joyfully knit a new blanket or read a scary book and occasionally glancing through the window to see if the rain is letting up.

Hmmmm.  Knitting and reading in a car? I can’t do that now as a passenger in a regular car.  Believe me, I’ve tried and each time I just turn green and my entire body wants to convulse.  I have a feeling that all of the companies out there that have motion sickness drugs are about to become crazy rich because folks like me will certainly need their potions  if we ever get our hands on these cars.

I only have a few concerns right now regarding self-driving cars and these concerns may be without merit due to my lack of self-driving car knowledge but right now these are my concerns:

  1. Unforeseen dilemmas will surface during accidents or potential accidents as a result of calculations the system makes.  We are animals and by default we are programmed for survival above all else but will my self-driving car be programmed to save me no matter the circumstance or will my self-driving car be more self-sacrificing?
  2. No one owns vehicles anymore. Self-driving cars appear when you need them and are gone when you do not need them.  I would love to replace my driveway with an in-ground swimming pool; however, the car in my driveway represents absolute freedom.  When I want to drive to the mall or if I ever have to evacuate my city quickly, I may do it without delay.   Am I willing to give up absolute freedom? No.  And what about my privacy? I am not willing to give that up either.  Data will most certainly be collected on millions of people who “order” self-driving cars to show up here and there.  Sorry, no other human being needs to know that I went to the grocery store yesterday at 2:00pm to buy cinnamon bread.  No one.  That is it.  And I think we all know that any empty self-driving car (controlled remotely by another party) that shows up to pick you up is a big fat hack target and if it is hacked it isn’t going to be pretty – grandma is going into the river.  No! Grandma! No! Hackers killed grandma!
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