. . . your “self-driving” car stops driving during an emergency situation.
My car has rear sensors and a rear camera. They have not worked since late October, when road salt and sand coated them.
Don’t give me the, “You’re supposed to keep them clean!” line. Like most average Americans, I don’t and never will keep anything clean, whether it’s the sensors on my car, the gaps between my teeth, or that mysterious tank behind toilets. I will buy ten assault rifles from a guy in the Price Chopper parking lot before I will bend over once, between now and death, to clean a sensor.
Besides, what does a “sensor” look like? There are more knobs and protuberances on the front, back, and sides – not to mention that odd little shark fin on the roof, what’s that all about? – of a modern car than there are on a cocklefish’s belly. I have no idea what to clean. You have no idea what to clean.
And even if you or I did know what to clean, and how to clean it, why do we need one more thing to do? I need to remember when to take my meds, 650 cell phone numbers, an ever-growing number of medical and dental appointments, how and when to set 25 clocks twice a year, I have to remember to change my smoke alarm batteries before they go off AT 3 AM AND GIVE ME A STROKE as they kill me in their attempt to save my life, I have to remember when the cats need booster shots, I have to remember several hundred passwords and Social Security numbers and addresses and how to do things I only do once in a blue moon like gap a spark plug, change the oil in a small engine, get my driver’s license renewed, start the rototiller, where the owner’s manuals are, how to get the oven to turn on or turn off, how to get a greasy (or oily or chalky or biological) stain off (name a piece of furniture here), and so on.
But forget about me.
What about the beautiful young 20 year old driver of a car? Pretend she’s your daughter. She has a car – a self-driving car – and it has done all her driving for her.
Oh, they told her that she might have to “take over the wheel” on “rare occasions”. But in two years of ownership, she has had no driving experience whatsoever. She has been a rider in her own car, a 2031 Nash Rambler, say.
And then she drives north from Princeton, NJ, to watch her friends play in a hockey game at St. Lawrence or Clarkson in the far North Country of New York State, where we still do not have bandwidth and barely have television and the radio signals from Canada float in and out.
And it’s on Interstate 81 near Pulaski or Adams Center or some other legendary lake effect snow sump hole, during a whiteout, that the Rambler’s sensors fail, and the car says to the woman, “Here, you take over now.”
So there you have it. Her first “real”, as in in-real-life driving experience. During a lake effect whiteout on an Interstate highway.
Oh, I know, those of you who are well-informed will miss the point of this essay. You’ll patiently, in your best “I’m missing the point like I have my whole life” way say that Aspies in San Francisco will have taken this emergency into consideration, that the car has both camera-based and radar-based sensors, that the car talks constantly to road signs, satellites, GPS, sensors embedded in the highways, and so on.
Horseshit. Are we going to coat the skies with satellites? I barely have internet service in 2018! Are we going to tear up every highway in the country when we can’t even figure out how to fill potholes or plow them, let alone AFFORD to plow or fix them? And are we going to pay to do this at the same time we plan to convert every gas station into an electric charging/hydrogen explosion center?
And even then, what do we do when the Russians or the Mexicans or a 13 year old kid hacks the street in front of his house, just to watch a crack-up?
And how will the beautiful young woman get any driving training when schools can’t afford to teach it, even now when 100% of us have to drive our own cars? Do we expect the Home Ec teacher (is there still Home Ec?) to teach dough rolling, highway skills, and Basic Marksmanship all at the same time?
My point is simple: forget self-driving cars. The mainstream media is nuts. We’re nuts for paying attention to the mainstream media. They lie. They hype. It’s news by press release.
There will be no self-driving cars. We do not want self-driving cars. Nobody does. Even more importantly, I don’t want them, and that’s what’s key to your proper understanding of this complex and misbegotten topic, one which has been foisted upon us by a malignant and wayward lamestream press that should put sensors on their asses and then keep them clean if they can locate them.