The new Lexus commercial presents us with a rather depressing message – ‘Enjoy the thrill of driving, while you still can’. The promise or threat of self-driving cars (depending on how you feel about them) is a reality and won’t be long before they become a common sight on our roads. Surely Lexus are just trying to scare drivers into buying their latest model or is it really last chance saloon for pressing our own brake pedals and turning our own steering wheels?
Industry is investing billions and working at an incredible pace to get self-driving cars onto our roads as quickly as possible. Hopefully, some of these models will give the owner the opportunity to take the car out of autopilot to enjoy the thrill of driving on more open and less congested roads and highways. However, Google have suggested that they might be removing the wheel altogether so who knows what we might end up with?
The beginning rumblings of autonomous vehicles occurred in 2002 when Mercedes-Benz introduced something called ‘Pre-Safe’. It was the very first system that could pre-empt a collision and prepare the car’s occupants for it by adjusting seat belts, head rests and other minute changes picked up from sensors around the car. Next, Mercedes introduced the Pre-Safe Brake which operated in the same way but could even take over the braking in order to avoid a collision altogether. Now we have self-parking cars, cars that read the road signs not GPS and technology like lane assist. You could say that robot cars were already with us.
We all understand the safety improvements that will be made and the fact that electric self-driving cars will be kinder to the environment but there are emotions attached to driving that won’t go away quietly even when we’re told it’s the sensible thing to do. What makes us buy or lease a new car? Is it pure practicality or is it excitement, pride and the way it handles? Will all this be lost when a car simply becomes a mere mode of transportation? For the thrill of driving a new car, while you still can, think about Car leasing in Leicester and visit http://leasing.totalmotion.co.uk/
Will there be any need to take a driving test in the future if we are not the ones doing the driving? Will buyers still want to take a test drive if every self-driving vehicle drives the same way without our involvement? At the moment, it seems that there are way more questions than answers.
Most people surveyed responded that they would be comfortable with the idea of being at the mercy of a robot car but interestingly, this figure rose when they were asked if they’d be happier if they could retake control at any point. It seems that while we are confident to let computers do the hard work for us, we still need to feel that we have some control over our own destinies.