Self-driving cars have really been featured in the headlines over the past year. Whether it's the Google car that drives itself, or the projection that "robot" cars will be mass manufactured in just ten years. But what trends will the self-driving car bring about? Here are my top ten predictions about self-driving cars:
1.Love Shack. (A.K.A Back Seat "Loving") If the car is driving itself, doesn't it follow that there will be some loving taking place in the back seat of the robot car? For the broke and amorous teen, this will be a simple equation to figure out: the price of a partial tank of gas, versus the price of a motel room. The number of babies conceived in cars will skyrocket. Please love responsibly.
2.Lounge Seating. In the age of robot cars, the front row will become smaller (or non-existent), and the back row will become a spacious "lounge." Whether the back row is built for working, loving, eating or entertaining, comfort will be the name of the game. I can fully envision a hot tub or Jacuzzi in the rear of luxury vehicles. However, for privacy and discretion, cars will be dark-tinted like secret service vehicles.
3.Porta-Potty. Does this prediction leave you feeling "flushed"? Self-driving cars of the future will come equipped with portable toilets, similar to the kind you find on the Greyhound Bus. Get the daily newspaper ready -- and a roll -- and you'll be on a roll, as your roll your way to work. Don't forget the air freshener to sweeten the cabin's interior.
4.Robot Chauffeurs. Sadly, just as poor judgement exists today, it will fly out the window when the temptation of self-driving cars is introduced. I predict parents sending young children to school alone in self-driving cars, and programming the cars to "return" home. Self-driving cars will become robot chauffeurs, lacking the knowledge and care of parents, babysitters, or nannies.
5.No Licence Required. I predict that in short order, no licence will be required to operate a robot car -- although one will be required to own one. Watch your eight-year old's smile light up as you hand him or her the key to your car!
6. Car Accidents Won't Disappear - Although self-driving cars are supposedly safer and can share information with other smart cars regarding road conditions, accidents involving self-driving cars will not disappear. Whether it's an old-fashioned car plowing into a self-driving car, an algorithm miscomputing icy and snowy patches, or sensors incapable of picking up a truck tire flying over a highway median, car accidents won't disappear.
7.Automated Gas Stations. How do you fill up a self-driving car, given that full-serve has gone the way of the dinosaurs? Why, with a robot gas station! I envision C3PO, R2D2 and BB-8 filling out job applications for service attendant positions at the gas station. Either that, or electric cars will overtake gas-powered cars ones in the next ten years. The latter prediction seems to me more plausible than the former.
8.People Will Forget How to Drive. Just like years of typing has turned my handwriting into chicken scratch, self-driving cars will obliterate 131 years of driving know-how from the human collective consciousness. I look to the movie WALL-E as my compass, and bid farewell to the Indy 500, Drag Racing, and my grandfather's favourite sport: Sunday driving.
9. The End of Drunk Driving. Self-driving cars will herald an era of sober driving; a benefit of a robot car as a chauffeur! Alcoholism and alcohol-related liver disease, I'm afraid, will sadly live on long after the self-driving car.
10. Get Me a Robot Mechanic! If you thought that the bill to fix your home computer and car was outrageous before, imagine the combined cost to fix the self-driving car, which is in essence both a computer and car. It will be like two hardships rolled into one, and you'll need a robot therapist to help deal with the heartache.
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