Going on autopilot
Don’t you hate it when drivers dawdle along in the fast lane? When they tailgate you, cut you off, or take an eternity to make a #$%!@&# right turn?
It’s possible that one day soon most of those people won’t be annoying you.
Oh, they’ll still be out there, but their cars will be on autopilot, anticipating problems, going at the optimal speed, correctly interpreting the I-405 maze. The road will finally be full of drivers that don’t make mistakes, because few of those drivers will be human.
In our latest poll at HeraldNet.com, we asked when you think self-driving cars will dominate the roads, and we had a pretty even split. There are the believers: 19 percent see it happening within the next decade, while 35 percent think it’ll take 10-20 years. Then there are the skeptics: 26 percent think it will happen by the end of the century, and 17 percent said it’ll never happen.
If you ask automakers when cars will be driving themselves, their answer is SOON. BMW expects to have a self-driving electric vehicle to market by 2021; Ford and Nissan are aiming for 2020; Tesla thinks it will be ready by 2018. Give it another five or 10 years and autopilot will go from a curiosity to the norm.
Once robots drive our cars, it will have drastic effects both on travel and the economy. Uber expects its entire fleet to be driverless by 2030, which would cost thousands of jobs. On the bright side, it will end the game of Creepy Driver Roulette that women now play whenever they request a ride.
Eventually the self-driving cars will make our present-day vehicles look like relics. Future people will look at us and our cars the same way that we look at horse-drawn carriages — ingenious for their time, but way too much horse$#@%.
What’s your favorite sport in the Summer Olympics?
❏ Track &field events
❏ Beach volleyball