Companies like Google are racing ahead on driverless cars development, and technovisionary Elon Musk claims one day manual driving will be illegal. But after watching the concept video for a Bosch driverless car above, I’m curious if what we want isn’t a car that’s part driverless and part old-fashioned.
The Bosch vision for a “highly automated” car —shown in the video above—balances between manual and automated driving. So, you start up the car and then pick between different routes to your destination. You, the human driver, back out of your parking spot and hit the road. Then when you get to the highway or another part of the road that can be driven automatically, you use a two button interface on the steering wheel to let the car know you’re relinquishing controls.
When it’s time to take control back, the car asks you to grab that two button interface again, and if you don’t, the car pulls over. Throughout the journey you’re prompted to rate the maneuvers the car makes so that the system can learn and get better.
The video highlights many of the advantages of driverless cars. Texting! Watching videos! Getting work done! It doesn’t quite mention the safety aspect, arguably the most important.
But frankly, and I’m not a car nut or anything, I don’t love the idea of a driverless car that you can’t actually drive ever. Is that ridiculous? It seems like sometimes it might be useful to be able to move your car the way you want to move it. How else am I gonna do donuts in a field?!?! More seriously, though, is a world where nobody knows how to drive really safe or desirable? I don’t know.