Carless Drivers and the Other Problems with Driverless Cars

Driverless Morris Oxford. Photo credit: Mark Hillary

I was just reading about how some boffins at Oxford University are currently testing a driverless car somewhere in deepest Oxfordshire. Apparently the vehicle recognises its surroundings using lasers and cameras. It then memorises the regular trips you make. This means that when you go to work or take your kids to school the car can take over.

Sounds great? Think again.

Talk to the Passengers

Is it just me or does everyone else enjoy being in control of their conversations when they drive? In any other situation I need to answer my wife and daughter when they ask me things. The great thing about driving is that when I am asked my opinion about curtains or Barney the bleeding Dinosaur I can say, “Hold a sec, there’s a tricky roundabout coming up here”. The beauty of this tactic is that it works the other way round as well. When my better half is driving and talking I can say, “You had better concentrate here; it’s a notorious accident blackspot”.

Carless Drivers with Outrun Addictions

Could you cope without driving? If you think about it, getting behind the wheel for a spell is a great release from the pressures and strains of work and home life. If legions of carless drivers were left without this safety valve we would all end going to our local arcades and playing endless games of Outrun 2 of whatever the modern version is.

The Wrong Route

Here’s a problem I bet the learned professors didn’t think about; what if the car recognises the wrong route? Let’s say that your partner takes the car out and the stupid blooming vehicle recognises a street they don’t normally go down and asks if it can take over? Well, depending upon your vices and weakness your partner could end up at the local casino, your other partner’s house or the seedy kebab joint which you always tell them that you avoid like the plague since your Uncle Dave got gut rot from a dodgy takeaway.

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