The driver is dead, long live the driver! If you enjoy the open road, the roar of the engine as you shift through the gears, blipping the throttle on the downshifts, your days may be numbered. Already with the PDK transmission, it is clear that manual shifting for speed is an art of the past. But what about driving itself? Are we about to be superseded as drivers?
With Google as well as a plethora of automotive manufacturers coming out with autonomous vehicles, it seems to me that we are well into the age where drivers are being replaced. Already we have many driving aids from lane guidance to brake alerts and from ABS to PDK. All of these innovations are aimed at making the cars faster, safer and more secure for us while giving the automobile more control at the same time. At what point is the driver the limiting factor? Elon Musk talked about the automobile as a lethal weapon; “You can't have a person driving a 2-ton death machine” and the Apple executives state that the car is the ultimate mobile device. The writing is on the wall as to where these companies think our automotive future is heading, isn't it?
Driving my cars, I have sensors in the front and back warning me of closing traffic, I have ABS, PDK, lane guidance, automatic high beams, self adjusting seats and mirrors, the list goes on. At this point, I'm still driving the vehicle but I can clearly see that with the next generation of sensors, my vehicles would be very capable of driving themselves. I for one, would love that. Just the Range Rover, not the Porsche!
Wouldn't it be wonderful to just enter your destination on your phone, select the route to get there, get in the back seat and have your car take you to your destination? And once you get there, get dropped off at the door while your car figures out where to hang out until you're ready to go again? Maybe pick up someone else in the meantime as a part time UBER? I for one would love this. It would also be lovely to send your car to pick up kids from school, baseball games and all the other activities. Just program it from your phone and off it goes! Perfect!
I raced for years and finishing 2nd in the US championship, I love driving as much as the next person. We will have fun performance cars for a long time to come but for our everyday cars, I can't wait to be driven!
With your success in mind,