A glimpse into the future of mobility

Conceptual design of an autonomous vehicles interior.  [Via TechRadar.com]

Conceptual design of an autonomous vehicle’s interior. [Via TechRadar.com]

Imagine this: you wake up at 6:30 in the morning for work and hop in your car, but instead of driving you simply fall back asleep and magically arrive at work 25 minutes later.

Sounds awesome right?

Well, the availability of self-driving cars isn’t too far away, and you could be “magically” arriving at work every morning in less than 15 years. The future is near, and the tedious task of driving will soon be a memory.

Being able to sleep, eat, read, or look at your phone while your car drives itself sounds like a luxury only to be had in a science-fiction movie, but this luxury is both very real and quickly approaching. In fact, Uber predicts that fully self-driving cars with no need for human intervention will be available for purchase by 2030.

The prospect of self-driving vehicles is both entirely foreign and extremely intriguing. While plenty of people are excited for the day when they finally own their own autonomous car, the majority of Americans have a more pessimistic outlook on the idea of driverless cars. According to a study done by the American Automobile Association (AAA), 63% of Americans are afraid to ride in a self-driving vehicle, and over 50% said they will never willingly ride in one.

Concerns regarding the functionality of driverless cars are widespread, and Mr. Horton shared some of his own worries with me. Mr. Horton’s first concern revolved around satellites in general and their role in the functionality of driverless cars.

“My biggest concern,” said Horton, “is that the sun wipes out every satellite in our universe.”

Whoa, how about that to brighten up your day a little bit. Mr. Horton’s other worries are how well the vehicle’s GPS works and simply the lack of a human component. He also said he would “never” purchase a self-driving car.

Mr. Horton is not alone, though, and junior Carmine Domenicone is almost appalled by the idea of driverless cars.

“When I’m 50, I’ll be driving a car, you can drive your spaceship, but I’ll be driving my car.” But both Carmine’s and Mr. Horton’s views on autonomous vehicles might change in the near future as these cars become more and more of a reality.

The success of fully self-driving cars will be partly dependent on the cooperation of the public. Although a surprising amount of people aren’t too fond of the idea right now, those attitudes won’t last very long. Like all changes in our country, people are reluctant at first but then open up to the idea. That will also be the case here: as people become more familiar with driverless cars they’ll begin to accept this change as a way of life. Perhaps 10 to 15 years from now, the people claiming they’d “never” ride in a self-driving car will own one themselves.

Personally, I’m excited for driverless cars, and I hope to get as little use out of my driver’s license as possible. I’m looking forward to the day when self-driving cars are available to the public, and I’m positive that over time the majority of people in the U.S. will have similar attitudes towards this change as me.

Change is coming, and driverless cars are going to revolutionize transportation in the United States in the very near future.