Do you REALLY want a driverless car?

June 9, 2014
Google’s driverless cars are in the news again. This time it is a tiny two seater with no steering wheel or pedals. And the speed tops out at about 25 miles an hour.

Google’s driverless cars are in the news again.  This time it is a tiny two seater with no steering wheel or pedals.  And the speed tops out at about 25 miles an hour.  I can’t wait to get one.  I am sure you must be one of the first to sign the waiting list.  I cannot imagine what people will do with such a thing.  It won’t even work as a golf cart.  What a totally dumb idea.

I suppose these cars are a way to show off Google’s technology and inventiveness.  As for really being a practical product that people will lust after like a new Corvette, BMW, or Porsche, I just don’t see it.  Is driving such a chore that people really detest it?  I would think programming the car to go exactly where you want it would be more of a pain than just driving there.  But what do I know?

What I really wonder is how the driverless car handles looking for a parking space at work, a shopping center, or a large multi-tiered parking garage.  Or how does it maneuver to get to the gas pump?  I am assuming a hybrid here and even those gas sippers need fuel every once in a while.  I bet close maneuvering situations are the downfall of such vehicles.  And what do you do if you can’t park it?

Watch this video on Google's self driving car, below:

What exactly is the real rationale for a driverless car anyway?  I have not gleaned this from the releases and articles so I can only guess.  Maybe, just maybe, they could actually be safer.  They go slow and don’t make dumb human errors.  And their systems are obviously very conservative making most drives pretty safe.  No road rage here unless it is inflicted on the driverless car rider for being too slow or whatever.

A real benefit is that you can safely text or phone while riding.  Heck, why not just get out the laptop and surf the web or do some work.  You could even fry some bacon on a hot plate and fix some breakfast while the car fights the rush hour traffic.

I wish I could think of some other real advantages but nothing comes to mind.

I don’t know about you, but I would never buy a driverless car.  I still say that just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.  I surveyed some close friends and relatives about this recently and 100% said no to a driverless car.  Most people actually like to drive.  We all hate heavy traffic, of course.  It is just not fun. Maybe if all your driving is done in traffic, maybe you will be a prime candidate.  If you drive LA, DC or Houston, a driverless vehicle may be just what you need.  An automated driving appliance.  But it is not the kind of car for a weekend fun drive in the mountains or to the beach with the top down.  Driving is freedom.  And if you have the right kind of car like a sports car, muscle car, or pickup truck, it is a true delight.

I asked my 17 year old grandson and some of his high school friends what they thought about a driverless car.  Wow!  No takers.  These guys want real driver’s vehicles like hot cars or jacked up pickup trucks.  Something they can actually shift.  Cars are a reflection of the owner.  People buy cars that state who they are or what they feel they want to be.  It’s an image thing.  What does a driverless car say about its owner?  Lazy wussy nobody or what?  Most people are proud of their vehicles.  Even Prius owners, although I can’t understand why.

Maybe driverless cars are just a way to showcase the technology.  The electronics in these things is amazing.  Perhaps Google is trying out technology that will eventually find its way into real driver vehicles.  I can buy into that.  The lidar and collision avoidance stuff is really great.  How many chips are in a driverless car?  Hundreds?  All this is good for the electronics industry.

With California, Florida and Nevada already allowing driverless cars, I suppose we are on the way to seeing this happen in the future.  If it happens, I suspect the market will be a small niche like electric cars are now.  Just be ready for the huge insurance cost increases.  With the way federal regulation is increasing exponentially these days, maybe the government will just mandate them like it does other automotive features.  You better enjoy your driving freedom now.

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