In my last post I introduced the Google car to you.
Now, let me point some did just that I think that such an innovation could provide. In alphabetical order, they are:
Automobile interior industries would pop up, industries to design the interior of your car for relaxation, exercise, business, family fun, living, or whatever arrangement would benefit you. The possibilities for interior design of the car would be limitless.
Bicyclists would ride with fewer traffic concerns. Perhaps more people would ride bikes.
Billboards would fall. Since people wouldn’t need to watch the road, they would likely be more focused on what is going on inside the car than outside. Billboards wouldn’t be as useful.
Car repairs could be simpler and more efficient. When scheduled maintenance was due, or when the car sensed that it needed to be looked at, it could take itself to all-night repair shops and be back in your garage in the morning.
Cheaper cars. What? Cheaper? How? With safer cars, you would need fewer safety measures. You could have lighter cars. Okay, the cost of the driverless technology might exceed the savings, but the savings would be there.
Complicated traffic directions would be a thing of the past. Tell your potential guest where you are, perhaps directly transmitting the information to their car, and the car would bring them there.
Disabled people would no longer be limited.
Drunk driving would disappear.
Elderly drivers would no longer have to give up their drivers licenses. They could get out of the house more, go where they wanted.
Emergency vehicles would get to their destinations faster. Not only would they be able to go faster and more safely, but there could be an option where an emergency vehicle could have all of the vehicles in its path pull over to the side in time for it to get by safely and quickly. And since the vehicle was driverless, ambulances could have an extra person helping with the care of the patient.
Energy consumption would go down as self driving vehicles made transportation more efficient.
Errands would be simpler. You could place all your orders online, the information would be transferred to your car, which would go out, pick everything up, and bring it home. Perhaps you could program regular deliveries, and your car could go get everything at regularly scheduled times. Or perhaps merchants would have self-driving delivery cars that would deliver products straight to people.
Family emergencies would be easier to handle–if someone needed to get to the hospital quick, or a kid need to go to grandma’s and no one was available to drive them, or someone needed something urgently from somewhere, here comes the driverless car to the rescue.
Family interaction might increase as it would no longer be necessary for Dad or Mom to pay attention to the road while traveling instead of interacting with the kids. Kids would never again be told, “Be quiet! You’re distracting the driver!”
Handicapped parking would disappear. It wouldn’t be needed.
Insurance rates would go down. Way down.
Parents would get more sleep. No longer would they need to get up early to take kids to early morning activities, or stay up late to bring them home. They could just program the car to do that.
Parking would be simpler. Your car would drop you off at your location and come and get you when you wanted to.
Pedestrians would feel safer.
Pollution would go down.
Privacy options would increase. With the need to see out of the car no longer an issue, people could black out their windows for privacy purposes. Celebrities, government officials, or just normal people who wanted to be left alone could travel unseen.
Private ownership of cars could decrease. Instead of owning your own car, people could call on a car only when needed. This would save them money and result in fewer cars on the road. You could have a mileage plan, a pay per use plan, an unlimited plan–perhaps modeled on cell phone plans.
Productivity would increase as people could do other things instead of driving.
Road obstacles would be less annoying. When a road obstacle occurs, the first car there would submit the data to a general database, and all cars would have access to that information. Of course if somebody was setting up an obstacle on purpose, such as a construction company, or the police, they could announce it. Far less inconvenience. Cars would map the best way around.
Road rage would almost disappear.
Rush hour traffic would go way down as cars could drive faster, closer together, and with fewer accidents that tie up freeways.
Security would increase. No more walking to your car across deserted parking lots, through deserted parking garages, down dark streets.
Teen deaths would go down. Way down. The leading cause of teen deaths is accidents, especially automobile accidents. Also going down would be accidental deaths of children, bicyclists, pedestrians, and animals. And with all of that premature death disappearing, so disappears the sorry and despair of surviving family and friends.
Vacations would be much more efficient and economical. Instead of hours of tiring, boring, travel time, travel could be done at night. Vacationers could sleep in their car as the car took them to their next destination. When they awoke, they would be there.
Walking would be convenient. There are times when we would love to walk, but we have to go somewhere that might be too far to walk, or we have too much to take, or it might rain. With self-driving cars we could walk anyway, and when it came time to get to our destination, or when the weather turned sour, the car could come pick us up. And if we are within walking distance of our location but have too much to take, well, the car could take it while we walk.
And I’m sure there are many more potential advantages. Can you think of any?
And there are, of course, possible problems. In my next post I will discuss some of them. But before I do, what possible problems can you see?
I don’t see problems as obstacles, but rather as challenges. I believe that the above benefits make this change in our lifestyles extremely positive, and I believe that we can solve any potential side-effect. But first, we have to recognize what they are.
Tell me what you think they might be, and we’ll see if we can come up with solutions before they become real issues…