Self-driving cars are essentially a foregone conclusion at this point. The technology is well outpacing the legal questions surround them. Everyday automobiles like the Dodge Charger have bits of technology that will allow autonomous cars to work in the very near future, and this video shows what it’s going to be like. If you enjoy automobiles, it looks awful.
The F 015 debuted at CES last year, and ever since, it’s been on a limited run PR tour in heavily controlled environments to show journalists what it’s going to be like to “drive” in the future.
It’s more “riding” than “driving,” though. There’s a steering wheel present for some reason, but in the video, The Verge’s Chris Zeigler never touches it.
The entire environment in the F 015 appears to be virtual. Touch screens prod the car to go faster or slower, but it’s really up to traffic conditions to dictate the car’s speed. A center console slides out with a touch screen that allows drivers and passengers to turn and face each other to play games. “Windows” in the doors provide a rolling background of scenery like the background in a Hannah-Barbera cartoon when Fred and Barney are running for their lives.
The displays “have nothing to do with the scenery outside,” notes Zeigler, “it’s just whatever you want it to be,” lest any bad vibes or homeless people offend your eyes as you ride around in your sure-to-be-expensive Mercedes.
“This is the future,” notes Zeigler. “We are living it.”
It may be the future for people who hate cars. I hope it’s not the future for the rest of us.
The act of operating an automobile is an exercise in freedom. For teenagers, it’s really the first taste of it. Yeah, you may have walked around the mall without parental supervision, but until the first time you got behind the wheel in the car by yourself — with nothing but a hundred bucks in gas money separating you from being 2/3s of the way to the opposite coast — you really had no idea what it was like to be completely on your own.
“As you’re driving you’re just, like, having fun,” Zeigler says as he plays a video game while the car rolls along unsupervised. Out of the top 100 fun things I’ve done in my life, a good 50 percent of them have been behind the wheel of an automobile, and another 20 percent was with a motorcycle under me.
I spend my life looking at screens. Hours and hours at work. Hours and hours waiting in line for things, or sitting on an aircraft. I hate the idea that we’re all going to be drones, pecking away at screens on the way to someplace else where we peck away at screens.
We’ve gotten ourselves to a point where we seem to hate the very thing that gave us limitless possibilities in the 1920s, when cars became something that the Average Joe could afford. The more people I talk to, the more I realize that most people would rather ride along in a one-man subway car than actually drive the car.
I’m not the only one who finds the whole idea depressing, am I?