So, Cadillac is offering what it calls the “world’s first true hands-free driving system for the freeway”. It’s called Super Cruise and is offered on CT6 model vehicles. I saw the commercial recently and, I must say, no friggin’ thank-you!
I seriously do not like where this trend is going. Do you think that in their haste to be the first automaker to offer self-driving technology, competing car companies have accounted for all possible situational contingencies? There’s just no way! Other drivers, other vehicles, mechanical issues, confounding weather, road conditions, construction, not to mention variables I haven’t even thought of - there are an infinite number of unsafe scenarios that can unfold on the road in a matter of a millisecond.
Do ice and snow interfere with sensors? Does intense cold affect computer circuitry? If wind blows a lawn chair or air mattress across a highway, will a self-driving car screech to a stop, causing other vehicles to pile up behind it? How does a self-driving vehicle respond to a mammoth pothole? Would it plow through a family of ducks crossing a highway? I’ve got a million questions!
If you don’t
want to drive, why in tarnation would you buy a car? Hire a chauffeur!
Automakers are spending millions of dollars to develop road vehicles we can
just sit in. Donate the money instead, to scientists working to find cures for
disease. There are already plenty of vehicles we can just sit in and they go by
any number of names, including “taxi”, “limo”, “bus”, “streetcar”, “rickshaw”
and many more.
|Photo Courtesy Flickr|
Is buying a self-driving vehicle about the misguided prestige of being the first to own a new gadget? I have yet to meet a consumer who yearns for a self-driving vehicle.
Hey stupid, you’re drifting out of your lane! Hey stupid, I’ll parallel park for you! Hey stupid, I’ll stop the car for you before you hit that cyclist! Hey stupid, you’re about to back into a brick wall! Hey stupid, I’ll send an electric current through your seat to get you to stop texting! Soon, the morons who are driving on our roads with IC permits (see February 3, 2018 blog, "What's In Your Wallet") won’t even be required to pass a driver’s license; they’ll only be required to have enough money to buy a self-driving vehicle.
For impaired drivers and people who can’t think and drive at the same time, this technology is ideal, but if you can’t think and drive, or if you drive impaired, you should not have a driver’s permit in the first place.
If this is about making roads safer, enforce laws, toughen laws, or, better still, stop letting stupid people drive; make driver’s tests more difficult in order to weed out the morons. Not everyone should be driving. Not everyone is suited to operating a motor vehicle.
I don’t dispute that recent advances have made cars safer. Seatbelts, anti-lock brakes, airbags, rearview cameras; I like them and rely on them. Other technological advances, I have not tried. My wife’s car has auto-park. She’s never used it and neither have I; I can park, plus, I don’t trust it. What if it bangs into another vehicle, or an obstacle? How do I explain that?
I imagine some self-indulgent types will use their self-driving vehicles to send their children to school, or their aging parents to medical appointments, in safety and comfort.
I don’t want to be driven by a machine – I wholeheartedly subscribe to the antiquated notion that says - I drive the machine. I want to make the decisions that steer and propel my car.
Former US Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind, speaking on BBC Radio, warns there will inevitably be lives lost as driverless cars are introduced, but he believes that, eventually, streets will be safer. Already, safety groups are concerned that ads, press releases, and statements by Elon Musk, mislead and deceive Tesla customers into believing the vehicle’s Autopilot feature is safer and more capable than it really is.
If I pledge to buy vehicles I can actually drive for as long as I can drive, will automakers pledge to provide drivers who choose to drive with vehicles we can actually drive?
Automakers, please continue to provide drivers who choose to drive, with vehicles we can drive. Mazda’s slogan gives me hope for the future – “driving matters”.
When I can no longer drive, I’ll mooch a ride with anyone who cares, or I’ll take the damnable self-driving bus.