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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Unlove our cars?



“Mother Jones” magazine currently has an article about how Americans can learn to “unlove” our cars.

It's becoming an old tale. The new twist is that we'll see the benefits of self driving cars and leave the driving to robocar.

If you are a daily city commuter, it might even make sense and be an attractive alternative to driving one's own car. Maybe it appeals to workaholics who want to use commuter time to get work done How this is supposed to be a major advantage over current public transportation is not covered in the article. Already it makes little sense to own a car in a major city.

What about all of us who live out in the boonies? Can we expect the driverless infrastructure to make it all the way out into dirt road American? For the sake of argument, let's assume it does.

Here's the rub, rural folk may or may not love our cars, but we work them hard. The “car” most likely is some sort of truck. It's not a truck for show and status. It's a truck for hay bales, lumber, and gravel. Even if we have an actual car, it may have roof racks for canoes and ladders and a trailer hitch. They certainly don't fit the image of standardized people movers.

If my driverless car could haul my boat and launch it at the docks, that would be something -something they certainly have no plans for.

Those cars would not actually be owned. Instead, people would subscribe to a service. That might be fine city commuters. It makes little sense where people customize their vehicles to fit their needs. I and a lot of people I know don't lease their vehicles because they need to be customized too much. The lease company does not want to lease a regular sedan and get the Batmobile in return.

My big problem is that they are not trying to adapt the driverless infrastructure to the way people really want to use their vehicles. Instead, they want people to fit the cookie cutter roles they've made for everyone.

The technology is neutral. How it's applied is where the politics and agendas come in.

-Sixbears


14 comments:

  1. Have you seen Logan's Run? Now those were some serious driverless cars -- two person monorail. Of course, being in a domed city really helps.

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    1. Exactly. Seems it would work best in very contained enviornment.

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  2. My old Jeep is still running great and am sure it will out live me.

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  3. Judging from some of the stupid accidents here in Houston, I'd say many vehicles here are "driverless!"

    Either that or they are being directed by brain dead zombies of some kind!

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    1. I've driven in Houston -and will do much to avoid ever doing so again. My vote is on the brain dead zombies.

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  4. I got 28 years from my old GMC. If my Toyota lasts that long (without being outlaweed), it will probably outlast me. No driverless cars for me, thanks, they'd still controlled by idiots.

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    1. When people ask how long I want to drive my vehicle, I say right to the end of the petroleum age.

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  5. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)January 29, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    That's the 'thing' - control. If you live in a city, they got 'ya. If you live in the boonies, their tentacles aren't long enough....

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  6. My husband takes the train about 4 days out of 5...but he must drive TO the train, about 10 miles off. There are no buses to get him from here to there.

    I already unlove our cars. One is in the shop with some transmission weirdity that will likely drain my already stuttering checkbook. And gas is $3.39 per gallon and up.

    I do think there are better technologies, but we wont' see them until every last dime of petroleum profits are in the pockets of they who will not be clearly, loudly named.

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    1. It sure is hard to love something that causes so much trouble and costs so much money to keep on the road. If there was a good way around it, I'd do without.

      Maybe I should just live on a boat.

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    2. I sympathize with financial constraints. But, let's face it, for what it does, gas is cheap. In many ways, we've been lucky, lucky, lucky to live through the Petrol Age. It's like has never been, and (I suspect) never will be again.

      I never complain about the price of gas.

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    3. Most people have no idea how much energy is actually in a gallon of gas. It's huge.

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