I love cars. I love driving. There’s nothing on this world that can match that love.
But the car I know and love of today will likely look and function very differently in the near future.
Although I’m a fan of its search engine and video services, Google is destroying the car. They are dehumanizing the vehicle to the point where the only human input is turning on the vehicle or putting on your seat belt.
According to The New York Times, the Google prototype car lacks a steering wheel and a gas and brake pedal — leaving all control to the computer. Essentially, this “car” is a mobile couch that takes you places beyond your living room.
Although Google argues that this broadens the appeal of the automobile to the visually handicapped, that really concerns me. I’m nervous with a 20/20 vision person being behind the wheel — or dashboard now. If Google’s brain encounters an error, there’s absolutely nothing a human could do to correct it other than opening the door and jumping out.
In Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed Senate bills 169 and 663 to allow carmakers to be able to test self-driving cars on public roads without being liable for potential damage caused by the test vehicles, according to an article from MLive. You may have driven next to a car being driven by a robot and may never have known.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for advancement in technology in cars — I just want to the main part of the driving formula. Heck, my 88-year-old grandpa gets mad that his new Lincoln MKZ has push button start instead of the traditional key.
The advancement I am in support of is technology that works with the driver to create a safer driving experience. Most notable are blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure and forward collision warnings and rear, front and side cameras — all great pieces of safety technology.
Car companies such as Volvo have implemented automatic braking systems that stop the car automatically if the car is getting too close to another vehicle or person if the driver is too distracted to notice.
But the next big advancement in safety technology is vehicle-to-vehicle communication.
General Motors recently announced that they would start implementing vehicle-to-vehicle or V2V communication in their vehicles by 2017, according to MLive. This technology will notify the driver on different cars speeds, locations and travel directions. V2V will work in conjunction with existing technologies such as forward collision warning to alert drivers of potential accidents further down the road compared to existing technology.
Almost every new GM vehicle will be ready for this technology because of the companies adaptation of 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity in almost every vehicle — it’s even in their cheapest vehicles such as the Chevy Spark. This Wi-Fi connection will allow the cars to access the different data V2V offers.
My main concern with autonomous technology is our generation. We’re lazy. We’re consumed by our smartphones. As a result, a car that drives itself will likely look appealing to college students because it takes away the “tiresome” task of driving and gives you more time to like photos on Instagram.
Technology should serve to help the driver — not replace them.
Anthony Herta is an intern at The State News. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.