Our World is about to Change for the Better
"Driverless" autonomous cars are coming sooner than you think, and I am super-excited about the possibilities.
I love driving. I hope I will never have to give up that experience, as a fun, enjoyable pastime. But the future that autonomous cars will create for us is worth far more to me.
Let's have a look at how our world will change.
It's Friday morning...
You live in Seattle, and it's a rainy spring day with some thunderstorms.
You're sipping your hot morning coffee, and making breakfast.
Briefly, your watch buzzes, and you glance at it.
Leave in 10 minutes. Weather adds 15 minutes to drive time.
You smile, take another sip, and finish making your Spanish omelet. You put away the plate you had ready, and grab a travel container instead, since you'll enjoy breakfast on the way.
As you do, you hear your coffee-maker start up, it got the alert too, and it's making you a second cup of coffee just in time for your morning commute.
10 minutes later, you grab your coat, your breakfast, and coffee #2, and step out the door, where your car is waiting for you_._
It's already warmed up, fueled and ready to go, and you didn't have to do a thing.
Your car has already dropped your kids off to school, and using RFID, it made sure they didn't forget their lunch boxes or school bags.
As you open the door, it welcomes you...
Good morning [John], traffic is moderate today and your expected arrival time is 9:00am.
It reminds you of your key meetings and appointments, so that you're prepared for the day, and then begins playing your favorite podcast, there's a new episode about Stoicism.
But... you're not in the mood for philosophy today, and you say out loud, "music, please." It immediately fades into your favorite morning playlist.
As you click your seatbelt, your car leaves your driveway to begin the 40 minute commute to your office. Today you're working at the central office.
You love this time of your day.
In the few years since autonomous cars became commonplace, commutes became useful... time to destress, relax, plan, nap, socialize and get work done.
Cities spread out much further and people began buying properties in locations of beauty rather than worrying about commute-time to work.
You relax, savoring your omelet, and sipping your 2nd coffee while the music wakes you up.
Meanwhile, you're reviewing today's proposal, thinking about your sales pitch and scanning emails as you prepare for the day.
The view outside is not so impressive.
It's raining, and the skies are a drab gray... so instead, your car is playing a 3D rendered scene of Switzerland that rotates and moves perfectly with the car as it navigates. There is no distortion, and you've never felt dizzy.
Yesterday you enjoyed Japan. Tomorrow, maybe Skyrim. Or Mars.
The commute is smooth and peaceful. No one is stressed. No one is honking. Traffic is flowing smoothly because there are no accidents or impatient lane-changing drivers. Just inclement weather that slowed the driving speed a bit.
You reach the inner city.
Your office is right in the busiest part of the central business district, but it's clean and beautiful and the streets are clear.
Since the introduction of autonomous cars, there is no longer any curb-side parking, so roads are twice as wide. When the weather is good, cyclists are plentiful and ride in safety, since the cars can track them far more safely than human drivers can.
As you arrive at your office, your car stops and you hop out. The rain has lightened and the air smells sweet. Cars are fewer, and more electric, so you notice that the air quality is noticeably better than you remember a decade ago.
Your car takes off to park itself outside of the city center, where underground parking is very cheap. On the way, your car stops for a recharge and decides it should go get the annual warrant of fitness done.
As your car drives off, you ponder for a moment something your workmate Bob said, about how you should rent your car out to Uber during the day/nights when you don't need it.
You're not sure, but he says he's made enough to cover his vacation this year. You resolve to consider it again later.
But for now, you have a busy day ahead, and you dive in.
At 4:15pm your car leaves the parking garage and goes and picks up your dinner groceries for you at the local supermarket.
At 5pm your car meets you in front of your building, timed perfectly. It even knew when you were coming down the elevator.
You have a nice traffic-free drive home, picking up your daughter on the way from after-school soccer practice. Your son is already home studying.
You make a nice family dinner and enjoy a relaxed evening together.
Yawn! Welcome to Saturday morning...
No alarm today, you got to sleep in, and feel recharged.
It's a beautiful day and you want to go for a run. You pull on your running gear, hop into your car and it heads for your favorite jogging beach.
Today, you don't want the seatbelt. You stretch on the way, while listening to your favorite running music.
Your car is taking the back roads to stay below 30 mph, a speed at which seat belts are no longer required for adults. Safety features and autonomous AI mean there have been almost zero automobile fatalities in the past 5 years.
In 10 minutes, you arrive at the beach and you pop in your earbuds. The music seamlessly transfers over without missing a beat.
You hop out, enthusiastic about the beautiful weather, breathe deeply and start jogging.
You head a few km's up the coastline...
You're thoroughly enjoying the exercise, the fresh air and ocean view.
Meanwhile, your car is keeping track of you and relocating every once in awhile to a nearer position to where you are.
As you reach 5 km's, the skies darken and it starts to rain again, so you leave the beach and head to the road...
Where your car is dutifully waiting.
I love this future.
Any technology which improves the opportunity for humans to interact face-to-face, has benefits.
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