31 August 2017

HOME, James!

I'll take all bets.
It's pretty much inevitable.
In ten years, most people will NOT be driving their own cars.
Here's my thought process-

Our new Taurus can parallel park itself.
When it rains, the wipers turn themselves on.
The headlights dim and brighten themselves as cars approach at night.

Try to lock the doors with your keys in the car, "The Bull" scolds you with two beeps of the horn and WILL NOT comply with your security request.
Approach another vehicle at too great a speed and a band of red lights flashes across the windshield while an annoying alarm loudly sounds. If you don't react, the car applies its own brakes.
I'll insist the cruise control system on this thing is one of the greatest inventions of man...
Set the minimum distance you want to follow a car. In traffic, the system will slow as you approach a car, then, when you pull out into the passing lane, it accelerates once again to the speed you designated. (No clicking on and off of the cruise control system.) Amazing.
The Taurus also warns you when you begin to test the limits of your traffic lane. Approach the right or left limits and the steering wheel shakes. Do it too many times in a short period of time and a "coffee cup" appears in the warning segment of your instrument panel with a "rest may be necessary" comment... the damn car is nagging me!
And there are many things it does that you don't even realize while you drive... take a corner a little too quickly and it transfers power from outside wheels to inside to prevent a skid.

We've all read about "autonomous" cars.
Computers drive them. You simply get in and tell the thing where you want to go.
I think they'll be PERFECT for major city driving. Folks there won't even need to own their own car-
Just call for one to show up at your door at a certain time and direct it to take you to your destination.
You own no car, no insurance, no maintenance expenses, and no need to worry about the stack of "stuff" you have to move around in the garage to make room so you can park.
How do you feel about this future?

I don't like it at all.
I'm an enthusiast.
I have driven fast cars and motorcycles much of my life. I revel in the feeling of "turning into the skid" when I have applied so much power the rear wheels have broken loose and I have to correct the steering to keep the car headed in the direction I want... and having done it successfully, find myself pressed against my seat with a smile on my face.
But that's wasteful. And it's DANGEROUS too, isn't it?
Yeah, and that's the point.

Autonomous cars will be demanded by the public for that reason.
Computers don't make errors. Humans do. For "the public good", people will demand we drive them.
Those of us that want to be in control of our own vehicles will be scorned, shunned, and charged exorbitant prices until we see the error of our ways.
No more human errors.
No more loss of human life because of texting, drowsiness, or driving under the influence of... whatever.
It's coming, and I'm pretty sure we can't do a damn thing to stop it.

But remember this:
"Open the bay door, HAL."
"I CAN'T do that, Dave."


cary said...

As we have discussed this in the past, I fully agree with your assessment. I am not looking forward to the day I am not allowed to drive my own vehicle.

Ed Bonderenka said...

But can autonomous cars drive a stick?

Joe said...

The insurance companies will insist you get with the program. Rates for "drivers" will be prohibitive.

I see the future and I don't like it either.

Greybeard said...

Ed, are you familiar with "quickshifters"?
Standard transmissions would be no problem, but...
I think virtually all future cars will have CVT transmissions anyway.
For those that have no idea how CVT's work:

Greybeard said...

Amazing engineering:

The Old Man said...

Had a Jeep Patriot with a CVT. Hated the POS. I'll keep my 2006 Wrangler as long as I can.
As I keep reminding the Bosslady - "We are not the target demographic". Waitin' to see how that autonomous crap'll fly in Idaho, Montana, and Texas.....

Greybeard said...

I think present technology is such that it works better with smaller, less powerful engines.
I've now experienced CVT's on 50cc, 250cc, and 500cc Scooters, and all worked wonderfully.
They keep the engine at the peak of the torque curve where it's most efficient.
Others have complained about them in cars. I think we'll be "there" with them soon.