Hands free driving!
Among other things, autonomous transport systems will soon mean that when radio and TV news broadcasters say ‘the car lost control… they’ll be к right for the first time.
As far as Google is concerned, we asked for them. The burgeoning tech company’s trend gurus have predicted that soon, early adopters at least, will not care enough about motoring to bother with actually driving. Instead, they will be queuing around the block for their very own wheel-less, throttle-less and brake-less vehicle, just as they have every six months or so when their tech of the moment is upgraded or replaced with a new model. So Google has designed a car with no steering wheel, gear-lever or pedals, to go with its almost complete lack of luxury appointments. Yup, it’s one of them noo-fangled autonomous cars, where as long as you have a strong and reliable wireless connection and have paid your data bill, you can ask it to take you somewhere and that’s what it will do.
The techies at Google cannot have liked the Prius and Lexus RX cars to which they attached their cumbersome sensors, cameras and other equipment while testing driverless systems over the years, for the machine looks like a mid-fifties Isetta bubble-car, only without the performance. I’m suspicious about (his, as in Silicone Valley, the car parks are full of fast, desirable, and sexy cars that only millionaires can afford, and owned by the very same people who want to foist these egg-like excrescences upon the rest of us. At least Steve Jobs actually used the very gear he cleverly created.
The Google car was built for the company by a manufacturer that thus far has not had the courage to admit that this soulless automotive blob is its work. Don’t worry we’ll find out - people shouldn’t be allowed to get away with such stuff. There are but two seats, a screen showing where you are and where you’re going too, a start/stop button, somewhere for your bag and the inevitable pair of cup holders. It has a range of 160 kilometres according to Google and cleverly, by giving the electrically powered car a top speed of 40 km/h, any trip seems so much longer.
Oh, and you’re unlikely to hit anything, the technology will make sure it doesn’t. To be fair, it sounds ideal for people who don’t like driving, and the blind, and societies dominated by pedestrians and cyclists, though I’d wager, merely by behaving perfectly, the Google car will manage to score walkers and pedallers and others lacking similar tech and discipline as if it was born to it. Google envisages users calling ‘their’ car up via a smartphone app with which they would also input the destination. I just know that when I use one for the first time, I’ll manage to send it somewhere on its own, without me in it. I can’t help but think that if Google techies really want to encourage people to stop driving, they could be so much more effective by transporting passengers en masse. I’d make my autonomous transport much bigger, with seating for 40 or 50 people, with the task of driving taken away from users who can just read and sightsee.
They wouldn’t even have to buy the vehicle, they could pay for what they use, with their journeys cleverly coordinated to work in with other users of the vehicle, which could be allocated to various destinations and suburbs according to subscribers’ needs. Being a bit larger than the wee Google car, they would have to run on special roadways, electrified probably, and well away from pedestrians and cyclists. Google plans on building 100 or so of its prototypes for California testing during the northern hemisphere summer. Why don’t they couple them all together and join my plan? We could call them ‘trains.’ Who knows, if sufficient subscribers are found, there’ll be much more room out there for serious conventional motorists which, judging by their car park, could well be the ulterior motive that Google techies had in mind from the outset.
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