I can't wait for the self-driving car. And it can't be all that far off. A spokesman for Audi said a fully automated car would not be available until the end of the decade. That doesn't stop me from thinking about it, though. And a lot of other people are thinking about it, too.
Last year, Jerry Brown, the governor of California, signed legislation paving the way for driverless cars in California, making it the third state to explicitly allow the cars on the road. And federal agencies are starting to consider their impact. In May the Transportation Department made its first formal policy statement on autonomous vehicles, encouraging cities to allow testing of driverless cars.. It's already got my mind racing. And here's why:
Automakers like Audi, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz have already begun making plans for self-driving vehicles. The people working on these technologies are starting to ask what these autos could mean for the city of the future. The short answer is “a lot,” Imagine a city where you don’t drive in loops looking for a parking spot because your car drops you off and scoots off to some holding area, sort of like taxi holding pens at airports. Forget struggling to parallel park or squeeze into that tight spot. Those will soon be days of the past.
When you're ready to get picked up, just whistle like the Lone Ranger and your horse, er, car will zip right over and pick you up. Think of all the time you'll save. And money on not getting any parking tickets. I'll gladly give up not seeing another envelope stuck under my windshield wiper when I've overstayed my time at a meter.
And think about this -- ever need to be two places at once, work and picking up the kids from school. Send the car to pick them up. You can stay at the office and get some work done. Need to pick up your wife and the big game is still going on? Just dispatch the Honda to pick her up from shopping and you won't miss a pitch or a TD pass.
Driverless cars will allow people to sleep on the way to work or going shopping. You can read a book or even exercise, watch TV, catch up on emails or... hell, you can do just about anything and not have to worry about any accidents, either. No more passing up that "one for the road" drink when you have a self-driving car. You pour yourself that stiff one and let the car drive you home, safe and sound. Maybe even sleep it off on the way. Oh, man, hurry up already and get me into my new driverless car. I'm thirsty for a brewski and I still have to drive home.