It would appear from news sources and technology magazines that we are headed full throttle towards driverless cars in the not-so-distant future. There will no doubt be those who welcome ‘auto parking’, ‘summon car’ and the reduced traffic congestion that autonomous cars promise. However there are many who are questioning the downside which may outweigh the benefits of the driverless car.
There seem to be two primary concerns. First, if we embrace driverless/autonomous cars, we therefore accept that ‘we’ will be driving far less and it naturally follows that our driving skills will deteriorate. Considering the poor skills that are already exhibited on our highways and byways, this is a serious concern. As a modern culture, many of us have already forgotten our hard earned knowledge about changing a flat tire or boosting a dead battery . . . and what lies under the hood is now a complete mystery to many. It only follows that with less driving we will soon forget how to drive entirely.
This segues into the second great concern which is government overreach. Once research begins to show that ‘manual’ driving mode as opposed to ‘autonomous’ mode greatly increases the risk of accidents, we can assume that the safety gurus will quickly step in and rule that manual mode is too dangerous to the public welfare and should be eliminated . . . and there passes another of our freedoms.
We have all seen films of the dystopian societies of the future, and while these may be fiction, we all know that science fiction has a habit of becoming science fact…any Jules Verne fan will attest to that. We would all love to see less congestion on our roads during the commuter rush, and calling for a car from the parking lot on a rainy night sounds great . . . but then again do we really want a license plate that reads THX1138?