Monday, September 18, 2017

DRIVERLESS CARS


The technology is almost here. The day when you can get in your car, tell it where you want to go, then just relax and become a passenger is not that far off.

Frankly, I am looking forward to the day. I have loved driving all my life and often did it in relationship to my work. When I worked for the power company, driving 150 miles a day was not uncommon as we served 5 counties.

I LOVE to drive. To me, getting behind the wheel is a pleasure and and nothing gets the blood moving for me like the words--"road trip."

But I am 78 so there will come a time when I will have to turn over my keys. Sigh. However, if we have driverless cars--there will be no problem. As long as I can speak, I will still be able to go. I realize we are not quite there yet--or are we?

The other day while driving to town, a car pulled out in front of me and drove really slow. I am a patient person so I just slowed down and relaxed till I looked closer.  No one was driving the car nor was there a passenger.  It was just tootling down the road by itself. I mean so far today, driverless cars still need the "in case" person ready to take over, don't they?

The car had very low head rests that hadn't been raised and there wasn't a trace of a human head poking above the seats. I'd have taken a picture but these curvy roads require paying close attention. No way to pass to check it out so I followed.

The car continued about 20 miles under the speed limit and I followed in amazement as it kept a pretty steady bead in the proper lane.

I was thinking that perhaps a child had "stolen" his dad's car and was joy riding. I had been known to do that as a youngster. A child would explain the lack of a visible driver.  I figured he had to be only seeing the road through the steering wheel. Not a comfortable feeling for me but I had no recourse.

There is little to no cell service here so I couldn't call for help. I was hoping if he stopped, I could talk him out of staying off the road till help arrived. So I followed.

We got to town and the car pulled off on a side road so I followed. It soon stopped and so did I.  The door opened and out popped a small, elderly female that was well under 5 feet tall.  She scooted towards a yard sale totally unaware of her stalker.

I then got the giggles and remembered that when I was in Florida, seemingly driverless cars were common place.  The shrinking, aging population there often supplied cars with no visible drivers. It was not uncommon and something we got use to. I had just forgotten.

Ah, I miss you George.
Then I quit laughing as I realized that I have dropped 1.5 inches in stature my self and while I still can see over the steering wheel, how much longer will I enjoy that?

Yep, I am 1.5 inches closer to needing a driverless car.

Do you think they will be a good idea? Would you want one?

46 comments :

  1. I love the idea of driverless cars, especially as we age; it will help up to maintain our independence. The car I have has the feature where you press a button and somehow the car stays in the correct lane. Handy feature if you fear falling asleep at the wheel.

    Apparently it works by the cameras picking up the white lines on the road. So if there are no white lines, or they are faded, or covered with snow (!), this technology will not help.

    I played with the feature when I first got the car, but honestly, it made me nervous. I just didn't trust it, so I don't use it. But I do like the automatic breaking system that kicks in if you don't slow down/stop quick enough.

    When we were in FL for the winter, I saw plenty of those seemingly driverless cars. Can't laugh too loud, as someday that will be me!

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    1. Carole,
      I wasn't aware just how many cars today all ready have driver assist. I knew about the breaks and parking, wasn't aware of the lane monitor. Snow really would mess that up.
      Me too Carole, I didn't start out tall to begin with.

      Delete
  2. I don't like the idea and I would never want to be in one. I don't know how to drive, so I would be as useless as the car in case of situations where the reflexes of a quick thinking driver were needed. If someone runs a red light, who or what slams the brakes on a driverless car?

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    1. River,
      I guess it will slam on its own brakes if it senses a collision. It would take a lot of trust for a driver. I can't imagine what it would be like for a non-driver.

      Delete
  3. My Aunt Margaret was under 5'tall. Her husband called her Chigger. She never drove a car that looked like it had a driver. As a young person she drove her dad's Cadillac and it was known as the phantom car in their hometown.

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    1. Annie,
      Aw, Chigger is such a cute nick name for a smallish person. I guess she has dealt with this all her life.

      Delete
  4. I've seen those cars, and yes in Florida there are a lot of "driverless" cars. You are a good writer, Patti, and I always enjoy your adventures. I can't say i LOVE to drive, but I sure would like to be able to afford a driverless car. I'd use it for sure. :-)

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    Replies
    1. Djan,
      Thank you and so glad you enjoy my ramblings. Like you, I think I would enjoy one though it might take me a bit to trust it.

      Delete
  5. It took me years to trust an ATM machine not sure I'd ever trust a driver-less car.

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    1. joeh,
      Well you do have Mrs. C to handle it now. Can't wait to read your posts if you ever get one.

      Delete
  6. I don't think I'd trust a driver-less car. Computers freeze up and a driver-less car is all about computers. I just don't believe they could possibly be programed for every situation. Though I wish I didn't feel this way.

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    1. Jean,
      I am sure they have a long way to go yet. Some of the cars today all ready have driver assist--it just hasn't made it all the way yet. Hopefully they will work out the bugs before it becomes common.

      Delete
  7. We recently went to renew our driver's licenses and there were folks in there (the DMV) that I was really hoping were only getting identity cards, not licenses, they could barely walk, can't imagine them driving. So having a driverless car could be a God send for some folks.

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    1. Mac n' Janet,
      I agree, it would keep a lot of older folks more independent. It can be scary though. Once when I worked at the Turnpike and required the driver to show his licence. He tried giving me his passenger's current licence. He then told me she was legally blind yet had a recently renewed licence. Huh??

      Delete
  8. I wouldn't mind a driverless car. I've never enjoyed driving and have no ego wrapped up in it.

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    1. Stephen,
      I think it would be great to be able to enjoy the scenery and just relax. I'd do it.

      Delete
  9. I love that you followed that car to make sure all was safe. I'm not sure how I feel about driverless cars. Although, I do so very little driving these days as Roger does it all, I may need one if I ever get my own car.

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    1. robin,
      I think when we can trust the technology, it would be a great thing. Might make those long trips you two take a bit easier.

      Delete
  10. The idea of a driverless car scares me, I know the technology is there, but turning something this serious completely over to a computer does not sound like a good idea.

    I have seen many "driverless" cars like you followed, a lady on a mission going to a yard sale...you have to love them.

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    1. Jimmy,
      Pretty sure we would all be vigilant for a long time when it does come to pass.
      I see your state has a bunch of shrunken folks too:))

      Delete
  11. First the driverless cars and then the hackers to take over the controls. Doesn't bear thinking about!

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    Replies
    1. Fun60,
      Good but sad point. All ready they can hack todays vehicles.

      Delete
  12. I have never enjoyed driving since the car I was driving in driver's ed in high school blew a tire and our car almost rolled with me behind the wheel on an interstate. That pretty much made me paranoid about driving, but I do drive when I have to. I have shrunk from being 5'4 to being 5'1. I am slowly melting.

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    1. Snickelfritz,
      I can see why that would have put you off driving. Hey, you and I are the same size now. I know that melting feeling.

      Delete
  13. I've always loved to drive and still do, but think at my age I best have a companion for any long trips which I wouldn't have hesitated to do alone when I was younger. I think the driverless cars will be something I'll consider using, but initially want to be able to quickly and easily take control til they've proven their safety and reliability.

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    1. joared,
      Me too on wanting easy access to taking control. Don't think you will find me spacing out while it takes over for quite a while.

      Delete
  14. I am looking forward to driverless cars as I think they will make our roads much safer. In our country many drivers seem to be texting or calling people on their "smart" phones, or playing with their GPS,radar, dash cams or other gadgets, as well as holding conversations with passengers, that I think many are essentially driverless vehicles anyway... ones that are piloted without intelligence, human or otherwise! So, at least real driverless cars will be steered by the Mind of Google, or the Matrix, or whatever!!!

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    1. Peter,
      Excellent point. Outside of distracted drivers, we also have to deal with impaired drivers via alcohol or drugs. Sure would be more comforting to know those types would not be in control.

      Delete
  15. I haven't been really interested in a driverless cars until I read this post and realized that that would be a way to be able to have individual freedom of having an automobile well after the time when I should probably have given up driving

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    1. Linda,
      I too see it as a way to keep our freedom. Looking forward to it.

      Delete
  16. I'm 3" shorter than I once was, but I'm still 2" taller than you!!

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    1. Fran,
      One reason I look up to you. Lucky you, you have more inches to work with than I do.

      Delete
  17. I'm shrinking rapidly, but can still see out. Yes, I who also loved to drive and drive would welcome a driverless car.

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    1. Mage,
      I am looking at them as being an a viable alternative to losing our freedom.

      Delete
  18. I have't finished Deep Thinking the driverless car yet. Certainly it has it's good points and we can all imagine its bad points. Not quite ready but not against it. Shrinking. OMG. How many completely revamped wardrobes must I have in my life. Guess I'd better start saving now.

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  19. Barbara,
    Know what you mean. I just had to return a pair of jeans I had just bought with out trying on. It was my regular size but they were too long and I don't sew. Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  20. well I've hit the ripe old age of 84 and still love to drive although my car gets older along with me (a 2001 Acura) and I envision a time when we will both be put out to pasture !!

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    1. Ginnie,
      I wonder how car years measure if they are like dog years. Mine is a 2003. Pretty sure she is my last also.

      Delete
  21. Hi Patti, I love driving too and do most of the driving even on trips. BG is perfectly okay with that and he tells everyone what a good driver I am. However, the older I get the more attention I have to pay as I find myself steering in the direction I'm looking! Like my dad used to do. Not a good thing! haha! As to the driverless cars, it sounds great if we could trust them a 100%. Not sure I could.
    Have a nice weekend!

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    1. Cheryl,
      Good to see you back posting. You were missed. Know what you mean. I did that driving the way I looked when I was in my 40's so I have been watching that for a long time.
      Think trust may take a while.

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  22. Replies
    1. Carolyn,
      Ha ha ha, tell us how you really feel:))

      Delete
  23. Unlike you, I don't really enjoy driving,Patti, but the driverless technology frightens me a bit. I'm still tall enough so unless I shrink a lot in the coming years, I should still be able to see above the steering wheel. What really scares me is that my twin grandchildren will turn 15 in Feb and can get their permits!

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    1. Barb,
      Great to see you here. I sure have missed your posts and visits. Hope that handsome fox is doing fine.
      Nice that you have inches to spare. What a comfort. Doesn't seem possible they are almost 15. Yikes.

      Delete
  24. With my limited vision a self driven cars seems an ideal solution.Hoever in Germany theybare testing the coputer software to run the cars and have found that hackers have been able to over ride their programs. The idea of that leaves me thinking of all sorts of what if especially with the recent cars driven into crowds. Many other ugly situations came to me. Single ladies in cars controlled by ? It is just not my idea of safe yet. Sofrware hacks are too common still.

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  25. Since I'm now really fearful of driving anywhere except maybe 1/2 a mile away, I can't wait for the driverless cars. Art, however, would probably not like it. He likes being in control of the car.

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