It all started with a simple device that allowed a driver to set the speed of a car without holding one’s foot on the gas while driving. Today most cars have cruise control and most take it for granted, but not too long ago it was a revolutionary technology that had some negative aspects: What if it got stuck and the car refused to stop? What if it turns but then refuses to go off? I am sure the debate was intense but technology finally won out so that the most expensive cars of the day were equipped with this new device.
Now move to our present when a new and similar debate is raging. We now have the emerging technology to create ‘smart cars’ that are able to self-navigate through our intricate road system. That’s right, you will not have to hold on to the steering wheel! Just set the car for a final destination and take a nap. Please do not bring up the old problem of malfunctions which may kill the passengers? Seriously, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, 37,000 Americans die each year in auto accidents and 2.35 million are injured or disabled. Worldwide, a staggering 1.3 million people are killed and between 20 and 50 million injured or disabled! So let’s not go there! No one is as accident-prone as good old Homo sapiens. So, back to the topic at hand, this technology will not just save lives, it will allow also to us use the time in our cars in a more constructive way; 1.e,s say reading a book, working on projects, takeing a needed nap or whatever one chooses to do.
Now, who is going to suffer from this technology? It dawned on me recently that the insurance companies would no longer be needed. Sure we may have auto insurance but, because we may have next to no claims, our insurance premium would be extremely small. Don’t think that the insurance companies aren’t looking at this. There is a lot of money on the line here! For example, auto-body repair would become a thing of the past. Hospitals would no longer have to attempt to put people back together who survive an accident, resulting in a major in a loss of revenue. A multitude of orthopedic devices which help people get around after being disabled would become passe. This does not even bring to mind entirely the emotional damage of an auto accident.
Yes, it will be a few years until everyone has a car that drives itself, but be ready to embrace the safety that will surely follow. Attendance at the race tracks will go up dramatically because people will have to attend to witness the gory consequences an accident. I can see it now, telling my grandson of the good-old-days when we banged around in our 3000 lb nearly all metal cars. I know this is scary to many of us, but just think of all those moments when our children set out on their solo road trip or prom night and knowing that they will be safe.