Now – we all know that driverless cars are coming, and we also know that there’s a whole debate going on about a) are they safe b) how will they behave i.e. save the passengers or the pedestrian first in the event of a calamity. But! I’m going to surpass all that and in this article and I want to go straight into my choice of discussion. What do you want from your driverless car? Because they ARE coming whether we like it or not. Just as night follows day, driverless cars follow driven cars and so get used to it and get used to it quick. They’re coming and they’re coming fast.
And I appeal to you. DO NOT DISPAIR! I urge you. I put it that it’s not all bad. Put your hand up if you’re fed up of the grinding daily commute in your – Ok – probably very nice, very comfortable, all bells and whistles car. But none of that - no none – can dispel the droning drivel and boredom of sitting in miles and miles of back to back traffic. Staring at the brake lights of the car in front, willing it to move just a few measly inches. The average rush hour speed in London these days is around 5mph and probably less. Just imagine being able to fold away your wheel, sit back and allow your car to do all the tedious stuff and get you home through that relentless boring boring traffic.
Watch a movie
You could watch a movie, read a book, video chat to your Granny (earnt Brownie point there) or help your kids do their homework. Far more venerable things are calling you than monotonously drudging forwards five yards and then stop … drudge forward yet another 5 yards and then – yes – you guessed it stop … and so on and so forth.
Drive round a track
But what about our driver enjoyment I hear you all rally cry!! But do not despair I say! I envisage that, with the possibility of driving your own car all but eradicated from the roads of Britain, Europe and everywhere in fact (it will happen because it makes economic sense to every Government) a new pastime and hobby will spring to life. Yes – places to go to drive a car by your very self. Race days will undergo a surge of popularity and as a result – they will become cheaper! Yes cheaper. Economies of scale will bring prices crashing right down and even your spotty teenage son will be able to go down to the local track and hire a lovely sports Golf GTI for a bite of pure unadulterated pleasure - thrashing around the track. Oh what fun we have in store - so I envisage. Track days will surely become a family day out, where people can vent their frustrations behind the wheel of a decent pumped up motor and cheer on their respective family members when it’s their turn. Safety on the track would of course become paramount.
Extend your house
But what about on the road. What will become of us while we sit in our automatically driven cars. What will we do? I foresee our cars becoming more of an extension of our houses. They will be customised and decorated to our own tastes. Vases of flowers with your favourite bunch floralising the airways. No longer car seats but more sofas on the go. Even bedrooms! Imagine if you had to travel to Scotland or some far away venue the next day. You could brush your teeth, snuggle up in your best PJs and jump straight into your mobile bedroom and be driven to your destination overnight as you dream of electric sheep.
Sleep in cars you say? – won’t be allowed. I disagree. The roads will become far safer places. No longer accidents caused by stressed people in a hurry, or tired people after a long day or nights work. No longer people taking that little risk too far or misjudging a gap. Computerised cars will be perfect in their behaviour. Obeying the rules of the road without question or waver. No more just squeezing through the lights in those last few seconds before the amber light turns red. No. The car will be impeccably behaved and will do no wrong. They will know the position of every car around them, be aware of the condition of the roads, know exactly what traffic to expect 5 miles down the road and change route accordingly. I believe even seat belts will become obsolete eventually. Driverless cars - they will be safe. Well safer than human drivers by a long mile at any rate. And so they will come.
Car of the future
So that leaves us with dreaming up the best car we can imagine for our joy and entertainment. My car would have a fish tank in it so that I can muse my fishies comings and goings and enjoy their scaly colours. For our fully automated cars will accelerate at sensible paces only - and brake in a similar fashion. You could have a hot mug of tea on your lap (coffee for our American friends) and not have to worry. My car will also have a fish bowl type roof so that I can peruse all around and take in the scenery or stars at night. Wouldn’t it be nice to just ask your car to take you around all the tourist hot spots of a famous town as you sit back, relax and enjoy. It could go and park itself while you have a wonder - and pick you up when you’re bored. On route - have a read of the paper - do a crossword puzzle - and all in a stress free and enjoyable manner. Also think of those times (if you have kids) when they phone you up at 1 am in morning whining “I’m stuck Dad”. Just send out the trusty old motor to do the leg work.
And so - I appeal to you – do not despair at driverless cars. Embrace the future and put your thinking caps on. What do you want your driverless car to be for you? A smoking lounge or a pampering boudoir. You choose. Choose your future! for the future is driverless and it is good.