If you like driving, driverless cars will change it for the worse. If you think that driving is a chore, you’ll love them. However, if you are reading this shortly after it has been written, you probably don’t have to worry about it since we’ll mostly live during the transition period.
The good points
Once the driverless cars are all around us, the streets should be far safer. The driverless mechanism should develop beyond any safety issues and the test cars should stop acting like a kindergarten bully, just slamming into anything randomly.
Moreover, some connectivity technologies that are already available should get their full purpose. Your car will know where to go to avoid traffic issues and accidents and it will choose the best route real-time. A simple example of this, but also the one that portrays the wide possibilities is the tech that we should expect to see in some Jaguar and Land Rover cars soon. It gets information from traffic lights and calculates the speed you should drive to get to the next one when it is green. This is a great thing, but not very useful during traffic jams when you are the only one with this feature. Other people will dictate your speed anyway.
Integrating it in every car and forcing the people to comply since the car will be driving itself means that we should all have smooth sailing through green traffic lights. How cool is that?
All these things will make wasting time in traffic practically impossible. You can work from your car even before you reach the office. You can have breakfast while in the car. Our lives will be much easier, especially in the crowded cities where you can’t enjoy the benefits of a good drive anyway.
The bad sides
All of the arguments of the loss of control, being overly dependent on machines and suffering major standstill in case of any large system malfunction are sensible, but they all fall well behind the main gripe people have with driverless cars, which is that we actually love driving!
Whether it’s gentle cruising through the countryside, or a spirited drive on an empty road, or an engaging climb through twisty curves, most of us have felt the fun and are very reluctant to let go.
Moreover, for anyone out of the track driving clubs that are bound to appear, having a sporty car will be pointless. It will be driving itself and aim for comfort and safety. Having a potent twin-turbo V8, or even a drag-racing electric monster will be pointless since it will be calculating that you need to go 42 km/h in order to reach the next traffic light while it is green and it will stick to that.
All in all, it seems that we are bound to have both, although clearly separated. Towns will probably be crowded with comfortable and accommodating zombie cars, while anyone with gasoline in veins will have places where we can exercise our passion. Don’t worry, it will not disappear. Just look at the tuning industry now.