Google has been the progenitor of all things new and interesting in the wide and constantly varying world of technology ever since some time three years ago when everyone decided that Apple had suddenly become boring. They have a wide variety of wonderful products that range from the search engine that I use every day to their widely adored Android smartphone operating system and their new augmented reality device, “Glass.” Indeed, Google is a glorious tech company that is putting out some seriously cutting edge products. This makes it very difficult to dislike them currently, which is a shame, given their plans for the auto industry.
You see, for the last several years, Google has been developing and refining a self-driving car. Upon first glance, this seems like a very good idea. Although only 18 percent of drivers polled in a recent survey reported that they would be willing to even experiment with a self-driving car, there are certainly some obvious benefits. First and foremost, it’s estimate that roughly 90 percent of all accidents are caused by human error. This new system would completely negate that. In addition, it lends an obvious convenience to daily proceedings. Imagine the time that could be saved if your car could be trusted to drop off your children at school or soccer practice. Imagine how much more you could get done on your morning commute to work.
The convenience extends to socializing as well. Self-driving cars could theoretically eliminate the omnipresent issue of drunk drivers. Their cockpits could be arranged with a new aesthetic, more befitting of a sitting room than a hatchback.
Truly, on the surface, this seems like an excellent idea. And to be honest, for many people, it probably is.
Let’s be honest. To the vast majority of people, driving is a way to get from point A to point B. What occurs in the intervening moments is a completely unnecessary annoyance.
But what about those of us who love driving? What of those among us who love the perfect symphony of power composed by the union of man and machine on the open road? What of us?
The reality is that, Skynet inspired fears aside, there will probably come a day when self-driving cars are the norm and not a newsworthy technological oddity. Yes, they can still crash. Yes, they can be hacked. But all of these problems do apply to the cars that we love so much. The oft-discussed idea of the computers going haywire and crashing the car really applies just as much to a modern sedan as to a futuristic self-driving car. Want proof? Talk to Toyota’s legal counsel. For most people, self-driving cars will be an improvement.
All I ask is that, when all is said and done and self-driving cars are available in most major dealerships, we gearheads are still permitted to use a good, old-fashioned steering wheel, pedals, and shifter.