The idea of the chauffeured carriage goes back centuries, after all there was a time that a gentleman of means simply didn’t drive himself. Today, the ability to drive is an alfa male demonstration that lets women know which of us are the most active and engaged lovers and which are. . . well just along for the ride. And yes I’m aware that women drive too, but don’t ask me to explain the psychology behind that, I don’t understand girls, and they scare me. Especially my wife.
Thing of it is, both Audi and – strangely enough, Google – are trying to level the playing field with the introduction of automated cars that can drive themselves. Nevada – bastion of gambling, prostitution, and nuclear waste storage – has even added legalization of such vehicles to its litany of things you can get away with there that makes other states shrink back in horror. There are of course benefits to driverless cars – they can do a much better job at picking the right lanes and may ride more closely together improving the carrying capacity of existing roadways – but there’s just something odd about giving up a skill so central to our personas.
If you had a driverless car you could catch a few more winks before getting to work, or kick that work off while on the commute and impress your boss with your go-getter attitude – you’re really going places kid, you just won’t be driving yourself there. There’s also the sense of panache that being driven engenders, as well as the fact that in addition to driving itself, your car could also find its own place to park allowing you more time in the bar or cinema establishment. And speaking of bars, well, you’d always have a designated driver so you could live out that life-long dream of being a big happy inebriate.
What do you think about the idea of automated driverless cars? Do you think the benefits outweigh the emasculation and disempowerment? Would you be cool with it if you could turn the autopilot off when you wanted? What is your take on the matter, are driverless cars going to be a good thing, or society’s downfall?
Image: [©2013 Juan Barnett, All Rights Reserved]