The future is now! I always found that statement a bit ridiculous, and from a literal stance completely wrong. But, it works well when selling something new and innovative, for example a car that can drive itself. The S Class, and the Q50 operate fully without or very little human input and within the next ten years autonomous cars will be more common than ever. GM, Jaguar, Audi, Nissan, BMW, Renault, and Tesla plan to join the game within the decade. The idea of car safely driving on its own is nothing short of magic and witchcraft. I can sit here and tell you that there are lasers that measure the road, and cameras that do this and that, and you can try to comprehend and appear like this makes sense, but it doesn’t really. A car driving on its own, if that doesn’t blow your mind than you might not have one. I’m honored to be living in times that this is possible. However, there’s always a however, isn’t there. What does all of this mean for the hardcore auto enthusiast?
You know the guy; he’s got a Miata, WRX or 5 point OH. He scoffs at your automatic transmission and to him a self driving car might as well be a synonym for antichrist. I loved cars ever since I could remember, and if I could fit in a Miata I’d own one, cars in general are wonderful creations. They generate joy and happiness. On a warm summer day, when the windows are down and the road is open there is nothing better than to be in a car you love. Experiencing the sounds, smells, and sights is what gear heads call heaven. It’s also completely the opposite of what a self driving car offers. Yea, the Benz is luxurious, and the Infiniti is sporty, but not the Google car. They’re awful. They look like toasters, and drive like them and soon they’ll be everywhere, the end of the muscle/sports car is near!
Not so fast my third pedal loving friend. I tend to look at this as a blessing in disguise. Driving is fun, but not in all the time. In gridlock, when everyone on your side of the beltway is stopping to look at an accident that happened on the other side of the beltway seems like a good example. Honestly, I would have no problem letting the car take over at that time. Or if you’ve been out and about all night and had one too many, or if you’re exhausted coming from a family vacation. The point being is that even the most hardcore auto enthusiast would welcome some relief from driving at one point in time or another, and that’s where the self driving car would happily exist. When cars began replacing horses by the early 1900’s everyone was worried that our four legged alleys would go extinct. Rather, the appreciation for the horse is greater than ever, i.e. American Pharoah. The animals are used for parades, shows and sport, in other words only for enjoyment. Gone are the days of dead or dying horses on the street of your city because they’ve been used to taxi people back and forth. And the car is heading towards the same path. No one enjoys a Ferrari in traffic no matter how much horsepower it has. But on an open road when you’re free to push it to the limit the story is much different. With that being said I welcome the self driving car into the world. They can do all the driving that I don’t want, so I can enjoy driving as its intended. Drive me home, so I can enjoy my manual driving relic, and make it snappy!