Driving Isn’t In Our Collective Automotive Future
The tendency in automotive media (of which I consider myself a peripheral member) is to focus on the positives and negatives of the cars that are available in the hear and now. Which truck has a more realistic tow rating? Which car is a better value? Which auto executive is smarter than the rest? Etc.
One topic that doesn’t seem to get enough attention in the automotive press is the idea that, in the near future, driving is going to be incredibly easy. In fact, drivers themselves may be mostly unnecessary in a generation (maybe sooner).
Stick with me and think about how driving has changed in just the last twelve years:
- No more manual transmission options on most vehicles – driving complexity is greatly reduced
- Many vehicles offer proximity sensors to help with parking, and some cars even park themselves
- ABS and traction control are found on almost all new cars – correcting for inclement weather is easier than ever
- Stability control and roll-over sensors prevent accidents before they ever happen. Poor judgment on behalf of the driver is corrected now more than ever.
- It’s now possible to buy a car that will warn you when you’re following too closely and automatically apply the brakes if you aren’t paying attention.
- Safety systems have become so effective that NHTSA had to re-calibrate their “5 star” ratings
While many will argue that these enhancements aren’t really enhancements, there’s no denying that driving is less complex and therefore easier today than it was a short while ago.
The amazing thing is that these enhancements are just the tip of the iceberg.
Imagine a future where cars are networked to one another. It might sound a little unbelievable, but in terms of feasibility, all the electronics are already designed…chances are, you’ve got all the equipment you need in your pocket right now (hint: it’s your cell phone). If cell phones can communicate text messages and GPS data, it’s a short leap to integrate one into your car and have it share information about your speed and direction with other cars.
Networked cars that share speed and direction information could be orchestrated just like the Internet moves packets of information. You tell the network where you want to go, and it takes your car along the fastest route to your destination.
Sensing technology has made incredible strides as well. Google built a car that can drive itself, for example, with the drivers noting that the only accident after 140k miles of travel was caused when a human rear-ended the robotic car as it was sitting at a red light.
I leave you with two thoughts.
1. Networking cars will be the most significant technological advance in auto transportation since the invention of fuel injection. It will enhance safety, reduce fuel consumption, cut back on commute times, and help us maximize our nation’s limited infrastructure.
2. The video you’re about to see isn’t science fiction. Today’s most advanced fighter jet has a system that does almost everything that a pilot does. Why would anyone assume that this same technology won’t eventually make it to cars?
Comments? Should a driver-less future scare us?
Filed Under: TundraHeadquarters.com