10 Things we won’t miss when driverless cars rule the road
There have been lots of predictions made about how driverless cars will affect us in the future. From giving us back the time we lose to commuting to whizzing along the motorway at 200mph as part of a platoon of cars, there could be lots to look forward to. But there are also some everyday things that could be hauled off to the scrap yard when driverless cars become the only cars on our road and we’re no longer the owner. Here are some of the things we might not miss when they’re gone:
The L Badge
If the car can drive itself then we probably won’t need to learn to drive, pass a driving test or have a driving licence. One less exam to have to pass and fewer rules and signage to learn, remember and abide by. And if we don’t own the car, then we won’t need to pay for an MOT either. Road tax won’t disappear any day soon or car insurance for that matter. We’ll still need to pay for the roads to be driven around on and we might need personal insurance to protect us in case the car gets hacked while we’re on board.
Rubbernecking, traffic and traffic jams
Since there’ll be 90% less traffic on the roads, there’ll be a lot less traffic to begin with and that means far fewer accidents. And if people aren’t having accidents then there’ll be no more glaring out the window as we drive by on the other side of the road. But hold on. If the jams disappear, you won’t be able to use the excuse of being “stuck in traffic” when you’re late for that meeting at work.
Lost time and tempers
No one with kids will miss the dreaded “are we there yet?” Since mum or dad won’t be driving, we can all relax and enjoy watching repeats of the Waltons or more likely the Simpsons. And when you’re on your way to work in the morning, you could even get some extra shut-eye, write that report that’s due on arrival or simply enjoy the non-rubbernecking view. The time we’ll get back by not having to drive will be much better spent.
You won’t have to suffer the indignation of being beaten off the starting line by a young upstart in his souped-up hatchback either, but neither will you have the joy of whizzing past lorries, buses, caravans and coaches. Robot drivers won’t get angry, swear, shake their fists – or worse – when other robot drivers cut in front or fail to indicate. They’ll chat politely to each other over WiFi, and agree whose turn it is to overtake or go first at a roundabout. How terribly British!
We can kiss goodbye to getting lost too. There’ll be no need to read a map and argue which way is north, left or right. Driverless cars will know where they are going even if we don’t, unless of course it’s off-road, in which case, argue away: is that a cliff edge or just a ditch we can’t see the bottom of?
Cheerio to inconsiderate people taking up more than their fair share of the parking space, parking on double yellows or zig zags and blocking the rest of us from getting through. Driverless cars will be so good at parking in fact, all we’ll have to do is remember to get out of the car when it’s done.
Owners of car parks should be very concerned too because we might not need any parking spaces at all. If there is a 90% reduction in the number of cars on our roads, that will mean less demand for parking. Goodbye to nuclear bunker-style car parks, scrambling to find loose change or making sure you’ve got your ticket with you when you leave. Driverless taxis will pick us up and drop us off at our beck and call so what need is there for a multi-story or residents’ parking for that matter?
Bus and taxi lanes
Hooray! Goodbye to the days of watching the black cabs and double deckers zip past as you sit there bumper to bumper. Fewer cars on the roads means less traffic, which means less need for specialised lanes to cut through it.
Traffic lights and speeding tickets
Yes, yes, yes! If driverless cars are coordinating which car goes first, second, third etc. then we won’t need traffic lights, speed bumps or soft verge signs, whatever a soft verge is. In fact, it’ll be goodbye to almost every kind of traffic management you can imagine: white lines, double yellows, zig zags and one-way streets. We only have these to help humans navigate but if the robots know where they’re all going then we won’t need the clutter on our streets.
If driverless cars are regulating their speed automatically with each other then speed cameras and speeding will be a crime of the past. They might even, in theory, be able to drive much faster due to their vastly awareness, reaction speed and ability to communicate with all the other vehicles around them. Buckle up people! The jump to lightspeed is only a few years away.
What will Jeremy do for a living if there are no more cars to drive? There are only so many caravans you can blow to pieces or launch over a line of buses. Of course, we’re joking, there’ll always be a place for the old-school motoring enthusiasts in the brave new world. Manual cars will become “classics” simply for being manual and probably a cherished item. Driving them might become the “in thing”. And maybe Jeremy would entertain us by blowing up driverless cars or mowing them down with a steam roller! The opportunities are endless.
Sunday afternoon car washes
If we aren’t going to own the cars, we won’t have to clean them either. What on earth will we do on a Sunday afternoon? And think of all the children who will be robbed of a chance to earn pocket money!
Driverless cars will take themselves off to be refuelled, either with electricity or whatever fuel they need so we won’t need to spend hours queuing during the next fuel strike. But we might still want to stop for a pee-break on long journeys so petrol stations might evolve into just being road-side restaurants.
If we don’t own the car then it can’t be stolen from us. There have been some examples of driverless cars being hacked recently but in 10 years’ time, the average joy rider probably won’t have the technical know-how or tools to steal a driverless car bristling with state of the art anti-theft and anti-hacking technology.