The Amazing Truths about Driverless Cars

Vernon Coleman

Driverless cars seemed to me to be a moderately good idea (though rather dull and worthy, like instant coffee) until I saw that Google was involved Ė the third most self-serving, evil company on the planet (after Monsanto and Goldman Sachs).

Those funny google spectacles didnít do too well did they? I suspect they were about as successful as the Apple watch.

I wonder how many of those wunderkinds working on driverless cars, and doubtless imagining themselves breaking new ground and travelling into an uncharted future, realise that the first driverless car was actually on the roads back in the 1930s.

Not many, I suspect.

A driverless Tin Lizzy car called the Phantom Auto drove around America Ė no driver, no wires, no strings. The car drove in and out of traffic and did everything as though there were a driver at the wheel. There was no trickery. The car was actually controlled by operators using a remote control device.

The experiment was ended when the Phantom Auto accidentally hit 10 people. There were no fatalities but some injuries, and cars went back to having drivers.

Very few things are genuinely new.

I wouldnít be surprised to read that Leonardo da Vinci once wrote code for a Pokemon App.

If he did, I bet it was the bees knees.

The important bottom line, I fear, is that there is no chance of driverless cars becoming widespread.

Who is going to want to trust their lives to a deadly vehicle controlled by software designed by the sort of spotty youths who gave us Microsoft Word for Windows?

I can see that a single driverless vehicle will cope perfectly well on a nice straight motorway but I cannot see a driverless car managing to cope in a narrow Devon country lane or on bendy roads where junctions are often blind.

Driverless cars will be forever stopping and never moving again.

And what about potholes? If a driverless car hits a pothole it will be thrown into a panic, assuming that it has crashed.

At road junctions, in car parks and in other real life situations the driverless car, which will have to be programmed to be cautious, will be frozen to the spot.

Real drivers will bully the driverless cars into submission.

At junctions the driverless car will remain stationary for hours, creating massive queues.

And what will happen when two driverless cars meet in a single track lane in the countryside? Which one will reverse?

The truth is that we have become obsessed with the power of electronics in general and the computer in particular. We have become so obsessed that we have forgotten that the purpose of progress is to make life better in some way.

The driverless car wonít be safer, quicker or better in any way.

Itís just another silly gimmick.

Like those Google glasses. And that rather pathetic and pointless Apple watch.

Copyright Vernon Coleman

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