I was driving down to my night job tonight after a thanksgiving dinner at Dadís. I was up all night last night and feeling pretty sleepy. As I crossed the mountain pass into Victoria the rain really started coming down. Combined with the fog, I could just barely see a single lane reflector ahead of me keep me in my lane. Iím a poor driver to begin with, but in that weather, fighting to stay awake, and trying to keep a pace so I wouldnít be late for work, I couldnít help but shutter at the fact that I was able to get away with being behind the wheel.
Within my lifetime I hope it will not only be illegal to drive in those conditions, but that in any normal circumstance it will be illegal for anyone to get behind the wheel of car on any public road.
There was a post today in TechCrunch about a fleet of automated cars that Google has been driving around the streets of San Francisco. As Eric Schmitt put it, ďitís a bug that cars were invented before computers.Ē Itís not just a bug, itís a real shame.
People are now so accustom to sitting behind the wheel that letting computers take over driving duties is going to be a long, painful battle. In fact, the very first comment on that TechCrunch article is a guy throwing a fit because he ďlikes to drive.Ē How about we find a new fun thing to do while our cars drives for us? Maybe something that doesnít kill the equivalent of Vancouverís population every year?
Millions of people die because people suck at driving. Iím not just talking about people like me who are a product of a poor driver screening process. I mean humans in general are bound to screw up on a regular basis when theyíre flying past each other in giant hunks of metal and glass at over 100km/hr in all sorts of weather conditions and terrain. Not to mention the fact that the only forms of communication they have with each other are little blinking lights, a horn, and a finger. Itís ridiculous, and the moment it becomes feasible to let computers take the wheel, human driving should be banned.
Automated driving is already creeping into our cars in the form of background safety features. However, the likelihood is that human driving will be restricted is pretty slim. Instead, itís more likely that computerized driving will end up getting restricted to the point where I may never even get to see it in my lifetime.
As background safety features start to take control of the wheel, people are bound to start having fits. Then one day someone will die in a car because of a computer error. That will be all thatís needed to set the emergence of a much safer, faster, and more efficient form of transportation back beyond my years.
My only hope is that insurance companies will realize how much better computers are at driving and jack up the rates for human-controlled cars to the point where people would rather just get their kicks by playing some augmented reality version of Mario Kart while on the road. But I guess thatís almost as wild of a fantasy as having political leaders fight their wars in Counter Strike.
Iím lucky no one reads my blogÖ otherwise Iím sure Iíd be dealing with an onslaught of hate comments right about now. =)