Self driving cars are not far away and you can get a preview on most
Most cars now offer the option on adaptive cruise control, auto
emergency braking, etc. I've had it now for the past six months on my
Genesis but you can get it on other models, other brands. It sure makes
This past long weekend my wife and I took a 600 mile road trip through
NY state, Vermont, New Hampshire and used the secondary roads as much as
possible. Some of the roads were up and down hills, twisty, and speed
limits varied from 35 to 55 along the way. Traffic was light, but I'd
often be behind another car. I'd set the cruise control for the highest
speed and let my car follow the one ahead.
On some stretches I'd go up to 20 miles and not have to touch the gas or
brake pedals. I'd just follow the car ahead and it maintained a safe
speed and distance between us. Even stopping at traffic lights and going
through a town where traffic caused a lot of speed changes. If sure
makes driving safe and less tiring.
If you are thinking about a new car, this is one optionyou want to have.
1. I like to drive
2. Too long of a wait for the driver to pick me up for a ride to the
The technology is available on modest priced cars now too. Auto
Emergency Braking will be standard on cars by 2022.
Not as much as you'd think. Driving is some areas is boring and tedious
so that part you automate. Using your right foot to adjust your speed a
few mph is not using a lot of skill. There are some roads where you
put it in sport mode and use the paddle shifters. That's driving.
We deliberately opted to NOT get those options on SWMBO's new vehicle
(adaptive cruise control, lane monitoring, collision mitigation braking, etc.).
If you're not watching the road IN FRONT OF YOU, you shouldn't be driving!
We begrudgingly opted for blind spot and cross-traffic monitoring
(things that look *behind* you) -- along with the backup camera that
seems to be standard on damn near every vehicle. (We noted how
often these would screw up on the various vehicles that we test
drove and quickly realized they were just ADVISORS... prone to
FALSE alerts and FAILING to alert. Like having an extra set of
eyes in the vehicle but never knowing if those eyes are focused
where they SHOULD be!)
The problem with technology is that it isn't 100% reliable, requires
*you* to change your driving habits to conform to its notion of how
you should be driving (e.g., turn on your signal BEFORE you take
some action that it might misinterpret -- like wanting to pull
around a slow vehicle in front of you but IT thinks you're getting
ready to as-end it), can fail (in ways that let you think you are still
protected *or* can interfere with normal driving), etc.
Why not take a bus? Cab? Limo? Train?
I'd disagree. I think they lull you into the monotony -- or, tempt
you to distract yourself with other things instead of watching the
road. We've found the voice activated controls -- intended to keep
you focused on driving -- actually are MORE of a distraction than
manually controlling those same systems ("Did it understand what I said?
What does it THINK I said? etc.")
In the 70's, I designed an autopilot for boats. Instead of maintaining
a fixed *heading* (which would suffer from drift introduced by cross-currents),
you told it where you wanted to *go* (latitude/longitude). On it's maiden
voyage, we circumnavigated Cape Cod by laying in a set of six or seven
way points (typically, buoys for which the lat-lon coordinates are
published on navigation charts) -- without anyone at the helm.
"Frees the skipper from having to *be* in the wheelhouse to steer the
boat; he can, instead, be busy preparing his lobster pots, etc."
Or, below deck getting some shut-eye! I don't think it was ever marketed
for all the potential down-side risk. Can you spell "litigation"?
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