How long has it been? A year? From a run-of-mill futuristic curiosity to a transportation and social revolution? Pretty fast, faster than 65 whole miles per hour.
Obviously robot cars have been in the works for more than a year, but it couldn’t have been much longer ago than that when I first saw of video of one driving around between traffic cones in a parking lot. Looked like just another tech gimmick that would never see the real marketplace. But I read up a bit, looking for That One Flaw that tends to Stop Things. I couldn’t find it. Robot cars worked. Well. REALLY well. The stopper I expected was that no state would license them and we’d get stuck in a legalistic limbo. But then came Nevada. Then Florida. Then California. You can’t lock the garage door now. The robot car is out.
What’s going to ‘drive’ this revolution though is the BETTER thing. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/leaving-driving-computer-has-big-benefits “If 90 percent of vehicles were self-driving, as many as 21,700 lives per year could be saved, and economic and other benefits could reach a staggering $447 billion, said the study.” Yes, yes, I relish this fact because I have never especially liked cars or driving or car culture (round, round, gitaround I gitaround) or highways or sprawl or any of it. And I had to deal with it in the privacy of my own little world of embittered lonelitude. And THEN came the era of metastasizing SUVs. SUV’s and the attitudes that came with them apparently as standard equipment proved nearly unendurable. But darkest before the dawn! The dawn of electrics and robots. Robot cars are BETTER, and they will change the entire transportation culture, and profoundly and soon.