Are driverless cars inevitable?
Electric cars are the future and never fail to interest me, even if some of them are a bit rubbish. But driverless cars on the other hand...
The so-called controversy around electric cars has never made sense to me. This so-called controversy mainly exists amongst petrol-heads or gear-heads or whatever you want to call them, car enthusiasts. However, driverless cars are far more controversial and represent a possible point of no return for the world of motoring...
Part of the appeal of driving is the how involved the driver is in the process. Gear changes for one thing but also small apparently unremarkable actions such as using the indicators and even the windscreen wipers. Whatever it may be, the driver is just that, the driver. Not just in terms of moving the car in the right direction, but driving the atmosphere in the cabin, the temperature, the level of comfort to some degree. How your ride is as a passenger largely depends on the quality of the driver.
From a driver's perspective, driving should be an immensely exciting and engaging experience. You are alert, on the ball and it's possibly the most focused you'll be all day. But that is part of the joy of driving, no matter how tedious some situations may be (i.e. traffic jams)
So, we now get to the driverless cars problem.
But aren't driverless cars safer than 'regular' cars?
See, that is one of the strongest parts of the pro driverless cars debate. People take time to react to things, this in many cases, causes traffics jams the world over. With driverless cars, traffic jams would presumably become a thing of the past. Right?
Well, not necessarily. Driverless cars are and will be, basically computers with wheels attached. Computers tend to react rather badly when operating too many things at once. If a driverless car is doing the driving whilst keeping the passengers warm and comfortable and de-misting the windows, surely eventually something has to give?
Even now, computers do have a tendency to be a tad unreliable. The formula for computers hasn't yet been perfected, so why build an autonomous car around one?
This may seem completely wrong on my part, but I think that the technology for driverless cars is nowhere near there yet. But driverless cars cannot be delayed. The likes of Apple and Google are putting millions of dollars into creating driverless cars and even more traditional car companies such as Mercedes-Benz have starting dabbling in this arena.
Electric cars are interesting, they're still cars at the end of the the day. But driverless cars appear to suck the very spirit of driving away. But perhaps this has been coming for years. Manufacturers have always tried to better the life of the driver and passenger and this is simply an evolution of that. So, I am a tad resigned to the fact that driverless cars aren't going away. It's possible that 'traditional' methods of driving will be preserved in some way, mainly taken up by motoring hobbyists. But we shall see...