Questions for the Self-Driving Car Future

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  • June 1, 2017

It takes me 30-40 minutes to commute to work every single day. Despite that, I still love driving.

So every day I find myself thinking more and more about the inevitable future in which autonomous cars are the default mode of transportation for the majority of Americans.

I have enough curiosities about the topic that I decided to write them down. When I think of more, I’ll append them to this post.

1. Will I ever need to (or even have the opportunity to) teach my future kids how to drive?

2. If you’re using a self-driving car, what do you do when you’re late for work?

  • Will there be settings to go a little faster?
    • Would such a setting be banned?
      • If so, will tardiness become more frequent?
      • Or will people adjust and become more punctual?

3. Would driving become a purely recreational activity?

4. What will happen to the 3.5 million truck drivers in the US? How about the 300k taxi (plus Uber and Lyft) drivers?

5. Will there come a time where driving “the old-fashioned way” will be outlawed due to the safety concern of human error?

  • If so, would only law enforcement, racecar drivers, and criminals be the ones driving?
    • Would there be a black market for cars that can be driven manually?
      • It would certainly become quite difficult to practice being a getaway driver.
  • Would it effectively kill the appeal of a sports car?

6. What will happen to car manufacturers who fight the trend to be autonomous?

  • If they eventually change their decision, will it matter how late they get into the game? (Especially considering the fact hat their wheelhouse isn’t machine learning or circuit boards).

7. In the past, car crashes were due to driver error or bad luck. Now it’s foreseeable that death(s) could be caused by negligence in code. And, most likely, it was a relatively small group of people who wrote and approved that code. What will that mean for possible legal action?

8. The largest spectator sport in the United States is NASCAR. How will autonomous cars impact it?

  • Will it fall by the wayside?
  • Or will driving abilities be seen as more glamorous because their scarcity will increase?

9. Will self-driving cars make us more productive or less productive as a society?

  • Instead of listening to the radio, you’ll be doing work!
  • …or instead of listening to podcasts or just thinking, you’ll be watching cat videos.

10. Will you no longer be able to just wander with your car and go on an adventure? Will you always need to input a destination?

  • And if there’s a feature to “autonomously wander”, will it even be worth it if you’re not the one making the decisions of where to go?

11. If not outlawed, will non-self-driving cars make a comeback someday like vinyl did?

12. How will this trend affect motorcycles? Will they become autonomous?

  • If so, will that not take the whole pleasure of motorcycles away?
  • Or, will there be an increase in appeal? You could still feel the wind in your hair, but you’re also safer due to the autonomous motorcycle and the autonomous cars around you.

13. How will this affect the auto insurance industry?

14. How will this affect the auto repair industry?