Today as I made my commute home in rush hour traffic, I longed for the day when the road might be filled with autonomous vehicles. Oh, I know the doubts and fear that people have, but honestly, has there ever been a great change in technology when people haven’t been scared? Those that loved their horses hated the ‘newfangled’ horseless carriages; folks swore that televisions were going to rot everyone’s brain or make them go blind; microwaves were going to cause a huge rise in cancer rates, and people swear that cellphones and wireless entertainment is the end of the family. Oh, and let’s not forget the original – “If man was meant to fly God would have given him wings.”
With each of the doubts, there were inklings of truth, just like each new invention came with their own set of problems. But we can’t stop the march of time or the progression of technology and new inventions. If you’ve ever been the victim of a traffic jammed caused by someone going too slow in the fast lane, you know that vehicles synced to travel at harmonious speeds would be safer than hurtling a two ton vehicle down the highway towards someone going 10 miles under the speed limit. Or having someone that’s texting suddenly veer into another lane. So I say, bring on the cars with lane departure assist or ones that can set a consistent pace, cruise at safe distances behind each other and rid the highways of these phantom traffic jams.
Honda has already incorporated many of these features, with lane departure warning that safely steers you back to center; and automatic braking – always maintaining a consistent distance from the car in front. You just set the speed on the cruise control and it can go all the way to a full stop and then accelerate back up to the speed you’ve set. That seems so much safer than a driver whose brain drifts off while going in bumper to bumper traffic and brakes too sharply, creating a pile up that snarls things for hours.
So, at the end of the day, that’s my food for thought on a crazy busy traffic day.