Boilermaker Blog

Baby you can (will) drive my car


I was watching a news story taking about the possibility of the fully automated car. The person being interviewed felt it was no longer a question that it would happen but simply had to happen. The primary driver (pun intended) was the developing nations that were pumping more and more cars on a limited infrastructure. After experiencing traffic in China I was convinced that at some point the entire country was going to eventually hit gridlock.
A computer navigated car would (theoretically) enhance the ability to maximize the amount of vehicles you could get on the road. It was suggested that these futuristic cars might not even need windows. Would our cars become extensions of our office or a moving multimedia theater? The advent of the totally automated transportation system would be an incredibly profound change in human history.
Positives- A dramatic reduction in car accidents, no more speeding tickets and an end to road rage. I’m sure there are some lawyers who might be a bit unhappy.
It would seem like a slam dunk in major metropolitan centers; if we can ban large sodas then person-driven cars. Perhaps not so easy to tell a rancher out west that he has to give up his vehicle.
I can just see the bumper sticker- ‘You’ll pry my F-150 steering wheel out of my cold, dead fingers’.
So Tim; what the heck does this have to do with road racing? Glad you asked!
How would it be handled for races that take place on city streets; would some sort of ‘blackout zone’ (or electronic barricade) is created, denying vehicles from entering the race area? One would assume police, fire and ambulance would have some sort of override system should an emergency occur along the course.
If roads are supposedly safer would the same be true for runners? Would runners be banned from running on well-travelled roads as the robo-cars take over?
Perhaps we would eventually lose the ability to even know how to drive? Think about the skills that were essential for our grandparents to survive that have been lost. Milking the cows, shooting your dinner and riding horses have been replaced by the grocery store, fast food restaurants and, yes, the automobile. I guess the old adage ‘something gained, something lost’ somehow feels appropriate.

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