We see it in the news almost daily. A robot Cadillac roams Washington DC streets. Self-driving Tesla rolls through Manhattan avenues. Driverless cars are here! According to reports, they’ve already sent the new vehicles safely over many miles of California highways. However, after control problems, Tesla recently warned “hands-off driving is not advised”.
Closely observe news video of driverless demos. There’s a confident guy in a white lab coat at the wheel. He sits back, relaxed grin on his face, idle hands rest on his lap. However, there’s another lab nerd in the passenger seat next to him, peering fearfully out the windshield at busy traffic ahead.
We’re told about the tech bells and whistles involved in creating the driverless car. Of course, it’s a scientific certainty that it will happen at some time in the future. But not the near future.
Consider the flying car hoopla that goes back as far as the Jetsons, the futuristic cartoon sitcom in the 1960s. There were predictions then that the daily skies would soon be full of commuters flying their cars to work.
It hasn’t happened yet, and for the same reasons driverless cars are not ready for the roads and highways. Simply, while technology has advanced rapidly through the years, the always-limited human brain has miserably failed to evolve with it. Additionally, some of the most recent tech wonders, such as GPS and smartphones, too often add more danger, instead of help, to distracted drivers on America’s roads.
So, let’s not expect it too soon, but we’ll thrill when driverless cars become reality. They’ll expertly overcome road hazards, fog, rain, snow, accidents, drunks, road rage and pre-senile senior drivers. They’ll prevent other dangers, such as avoiding head-on collisions caused by disgraced Volkswagen execs attempting suicide by car.