You may be aware of a meal replacement called Soylent. It’s the brainchild of Rob Rhinehart, an engineer who hated grocery shopping, meal preparation and cleanup so he invented an all in one drink. Drink it when hungry and you’re done. I tried it for a few days, and as long as you don’t mind drinking something that tastes, quite literally, like cardboard, it is quite adequate, which brings me to Google’s self driving cars.
Hate driving? Here’s your car.
Last week, Google invited what seems to be a carefully selected group of journalists to experience a demo of their self driving pod on a rooftop parking lot in California. It’s not really a car in any normal sense of the word as it lacks all of the usual controls, no steering wheel or pedals, you don’t drive it, you sit in it while the pod does all of the work. The reports of that encounter seem to reflect the worldview of the writers. One is convinced cars are extremely dangerous and will kill the planet and anyone who enjoys driving is some primitive life form so Google cars are good and if you can’t recognize that, you’re not worth dealing with. Another who admits she never liked to drive anyway, was so impressed with the capabilities of the Google car in comparison to her own skills, she now seems fearful of ever taking the wheel again.
How long before self driving car incentives appear?
What is obvious, is there’s a segment of the population, high density urban dwellers no doubt, who dislike driving and hate cars and some in that group don’t want you driving, either. If you like cars and driving, your view doesn’t count. While many of us are fascinated by technology and find self driving cars interesting, we like cars, too, and driving. The views of these writers show how quickly the development of these autonomous cars could become a political issue among the wider population, perhaps to the point of trying to force the adoption of the technology whether you want it or not. I have no doubt plans for incentives are in the works.
Forget politics, use your own money, do as you please
If you enjoy cooking or eating fine food, you’re unlikely to be a fan of Soylent, if you enjoy driving, Google cars will hold little appeal. How about this? Fans of self driving cars should buy one or rent one or share one when they become available, using their own money, not someone else’s, no government self driving car incentives. If another driver chooses otherwise, that’s fine, too. Let the future of driving take its own course. Drivers decide, everyone wins.