I love the freedom of driving my own car, but that simple pleasure may come to an end. They keep telling us that soon owning individual cars will be a thing of the past.
Driverless cars are on the way, so if you need transportation to get somewhere you simply call for a driverless car and it will take you where you want to go.
No more expensive car payments, they say. No more gasoline costs, no more auto repairs, no more stressful traffic, no more parking problems. No muss, no fuss. Just jump in, tell the robotic car where you need to go, then sit back, unplug yourself from your surroundings, and give your IPhone your full attention.
This is the dream of the progressives, where idyllic cities are places free of pollutants and people travel about by walking, bicycling, public transportation, and a few AVs (autonomous vehicles). City, state, and federal governments have been busy making changes to our highways and streets in recent years to accomplish this very thing, the environmentally perfect cities of the future.
If you didn't know, that's what all the new bike lanes are about. That's why all of a sudden some streets have purposely been made NARROWER. And that's why so many side streets have been closed to through traffic, funneling more cars into less space.
Some streets have had center islands added which serve no purpose other than to make driving more difficult. If driving becomes more difficult, the thinking goes, than people will readily give up their cars for public transportation or bicycling, or at the least using the AVs.
The Gen Xers and especially the Millennials embrace all this; they are the product of progressive public schooling and university teaching. Brainwashed by liberal teachers and professors, they are absolutely convinced that man-made Global Warming is the biggest threat of our age. They are also extremely comfortable being totally dependent on other people and all modern devices.
The new generation is Internet dependent. For them, not having to drive a car is a major plus. Not only does it free them of the direct responsibility of handling and owning a car, but also it allows them more time to devote themselves completely to their social media networks, (which for them is the REAL world).
Even a few silly older folks think the driverless car is a peachy idea. But there's a major drawback to driverless cars. They are equipped to detect when something is in their path and will stop so as not to hit whatever it is. And that makes them susceptible to road "bullying" by others who share that same road.
Bicyclists are a major case in point, being small and unpredictable. And then there are kids on the street who might think it a funny game to run out in front of an AV just to cause it to stop short.
As far as bikes are concerned, AVs struggle with changes in speed and the huge variety of bicycle shapes and sizes. They even struggle to detect which way a bicycle is pointing. Bad weather makes detection even less accurate.
Former Renault-Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn described bicyclists as "one of the biggest problems for driverless cars." They confuse the vehicles, he said, because at times they behave like pedestrians, at other times like cyclists, and "they don't respect any rules usually."
Then you have pedestrians who are plugged into their electronic devices and don't want to be bothered by traffic and have no consideration for others. They know if an AV is approaching it will automatically stop for them, so of course they'll walk out in front of it instead of waiting for it to pass.
What about the legal ramifications of accidents in driverless cars? And yes, accidents will definitely happen. Computers aren't perfect, they crash, if you pardon the expression, or they go wacky sometimes for no apparent reason. Ever own a computer operated home appliance that just quit? We did. We had a refrigerator with a faulty computer circuit board that had to be replaced three times.
Who is held responsible when the driverless car's computer system goes nuts and an accident occurs? The owner of the vehicle? The manufacturer? The passenger?
They say driverless cars are coming soon.
But my message to the ecology-fascists who are pushing for it is this: I'll give up my car when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!