Driverless Cars: Friend or Foe

Busted in Lake Forest Park © by brewbooks

Google has paved the way for driverless cars with its artificial intelligence software system that they have successfully used on a few modified Toyotas.  While Google is not in the car-selling business (yet), the idea of this technology has been embraced by  US car manufacturers who predict that 20 years down the road, we will all own driverless cars.

So what does this mean for drivers?  Will we truly just sit in our cars while our robot chauffer does all the work?  Before you decide if you are for or against this technology, let’s look at the possible ramifications:

 No Accidents: This would be amazing. No longer will we have to worry about the teenager from hell texting and driving or the senior citizen, who can’t make out red, yellow or green traffic lights, causing chaos on the road.  And what is better than the potential for no accidents? No lawyers–well, at least accident lawyers will become obsolete.  With no one to sue, the ambulance chasers will go out of business or switch their focus to suing pharmaceutical companies which will make that type of law too crowded as well.  Either way, a lot of lawyers will suddenly find themselves clientless. On a positive note, they won’t have to drive themselves to unemployment. 

Looking beyond the no-lawyer advantage, one has to ponder what no accidents will mean to the life expectancy of human beings… especially those in Asia.  Okay, this is a racial stereotype, but I have been in the car with Asian friends and they don’t even deny they can’t drive.  And just so no one thinks I am picking on the Asians, allow me to slur my Italian heritage here too.  We are loud especially behind the wheel and in restaurants and in life in general, and we also suck at war.  There, okay, everyone happy?

No Getting Lost: Yes, the computer driver will know exactly where it has to go. There will be no need for cumbersome GPS systems or Apple’s misinformed maps.  Yes, our location destiny will be safely in the hands of our reliable artificially intelligent drivers.

No Speeding Tickets:  What will the police do?  How will towns survive without speed trap revenue?  This is going to be a big problem down the road I truly think.  Municipalities might have to resort to charging people a fee to put their driverless cars on their roads. But if the cars are electric, that will cut down on the cost of gas, so maybe, the fee to be on the road won’t be any big deal. Also affected by no speeding tickets:  Donut shops and McDonald’s (where will the cops hang out?), the radar gun manufacturers who nab speedy drivers now and also the radar detection manufacturers who help the smart speedy drivers avoid the police.

Police Advantage – No High-Speed Chases: This also means no getaway cars. Well, you can have a getaway car but your computer driver is not going to go 120 MPH so you can escape the police. So, if you are going to rob that 7-11, I would do it in the next decade or so because once the driverless cars come out, the computer is not going to help you dodge Smoky or the Po Po or whatever the hell the correct lingo for the police is now.  And with no more police chases, there will be no more TV shows or movies with police chases. We will say goodbye to action flicks and usher in a new era of only romantic chick flicks.  

Road Rage:  With driverless cars, road rage will either completely disappear or become out of control. Why?  Well, driverless cars will not exceed the speed limit nor will they go too slow or cut people off in their lanes.  Driving in theory should be a great experience. However, with everyone having both hands free to do whatever in cars, car riders might get bored, and bored people always seem to find trouble.  Instead of not flipping anyone the bird, ex-drivers now have two hands free to double flip the bird for no reason except that the person in the car next to them looked at them funny.

This leads me to another point:

Free Hands:  With no need to keep our hands on the wheel and no need to flip anyone off, what will we do in the car?  We can text, eat, smoke, drink, have meaningful conversations with our spouses and significant others about where our relationships are going, engage in sexual acts…the possibilities are endless.  I know I almost lost the men with the meaningful conversations mention, but I got you back with the sex, right?

NO NASCAR:  Okay, for everyone north of the Mason-Dixon Line, this is the best news yet. For those on the other side of the aforementioned line, not so much.  I might hate NASCAR, but even I know it would be twice as dull if the driverless cars motored around the same oval at a constant rate of speed with no one cutting each other off or nudging bumpers or spinning out.  If NASCAR isn’t going to have any of those things, fans might just have to find a new hobby. I guess there’s always soccer.  I hear they need fans.

Share this Post:

7 thoughts on “Driverless Cars: Friend or Foe”

  1. Fun write-up. Stop signs, yield signs and red lights can all be things of the past. Cars could cross communicate and coordinate their arrival at intersections, entrance onto highways and the like. So there go more jobs putting up signs, changing bulbs etc. My how the roadside could change. 🙂

  2. I was all ready to sit on the fence on this one but then I had one of those independent thoughts that people tell me they have. A driverless car might sound pretty sweet but that puts us at the mercy of programmers. Some of my friends are programmers and believe me when I tell you, you definitely do not want to put your life in their hands!

    1. I hate to scare you, but if you fly (commercial airliners), you are already at the mercy of programmers! I spent my career teaching airplanes how to fly themselves. If we could get rid of the pilot altogether, it would be even safer (most of the time, ignoring events like Sully’s Hudson landing)!

  3. The double bird flipping is one I had not thought of. But perhaps the bird flippers and road rangers will now have both hands occupied with beers during the commute home. Tough to hold two beers between the thighs. And the end of chase shows? Don’t go there girl. Just don’t.

      1. I was so upset by the prediction of no car chase movies (and the resulting all chick-flick replacements) that I nearly missed the increased opportunities for sex. But this only makes sense, since that is the only way you will get your man to watch all those chick flicks!

Comments are closed.