We are tantalizingly close to having a car experience that is more akin to a train, bus or plane. We get in, we sit and read and when we arrive we get out. All we need is self-driving cars. I really want this world to exist, but there are many hurdles to work through. For instance:
What if a deer/child pops out of nowhere? Is it possible to avoid ALL accidents? I think this is unlikely. So what happens when something bad happens? I imagine the car would pull over and you would have to do something to get it to go again. Would hit/run be impossible? Would the police (and insurance companies) be automatically notified? What if someone hit you with a non-self-driving car? Would they be able to speed off? Would the car have video to automatically capture the other car’s info?
If you want to go 1000 miles away, how does it decide where to get gas? Would you be able to force it to keep going? Would it complain? What happens if you run out of gas/electricity on the road? Does it automatically call a tow truck? or a charger truck?
Flat tires, blown radiators, etc etc. Does it pull over and call for help? What if the oil is low? Would it do the same thing as gas? Complain? How responsive would it be to your input?
Would you be forced to go the speed limit? I’m actually OK with this because it gives me more time to read or sleep. Would sleeping be allowed? Geez, I hope so. What if you are in a rush? Baby, Hospital, etc. Would you be able to say, “Hurry!!”
Ownership and carpooling
Would it make sense to share a car if your schedules are divergent? Like, 2-5 people could “carpool” and use one car. What do you do if there is a conflict. Speaking of which, carpooling would still be a good thing. Maybe a service where the car picks you up. Sort of a bus model but with thousands of buses and 2-5 passengers. So many possible services.
Will cars take the shape of a circular couch? A bed? Will there be a resurgence of car sex..except while driving? Will they come with TVs and surround sound? Will there be a new resurgence of after-market electronics? After-market electronic theft?
I assume that stealing cars will be different. However, even grabbing a car via a tow truck will yield problems because of the built-in GPS.
I’m really excited for the future, but all of these things are going to through several iterations. I am confident that we, as a society, will figure them all out.