Technology is changing at a rapid pace. Fifteen years ago, we had blocky, number buttons-only mobile phones that couldn’t do anything besides make phone calls. Now we have sleek, slim cell phones with easy-to-use touchscreens and the computing power of yesteryear’s PCs. Times are changing.
Self-driving cars are coming, and there’s no stopping that. They make driving easier and safer. They will prevent crashes and help relieve traffic congestion. Someday, when everyone has a self-driving car and the technology has been thoroughly refined, automobile accidents will be seen as rare, freak occurrences rather than the everyday mishaps that they currently are. Some news outlets are reporting that multiple major car manufacturers plan to have self-driving cars on the market by 2020.
If self-driving cars are coming, what does this entail for the future of road trips? In America (and undoubtedly in many other countries across the world), road trips have a significant place in the national culture. With the advent of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950’s, Americans were able to connect to different parts of the country by driving across the nation’s great asphalt rivers rather than spending a fortune on airfare.
When you first go on a road trip in a self-driving car, I’d imagine that you’d find it a welcome experience. For the first few generations of self-driving cars, it’ll probably be a good idea for the “driver” to still keep an eye on the road, but they certainly won’t have to stare so intensively at the glaring pavement anymore. Drivers will be able to relax their muscles and pick their heads up to take in the views. They’ll be able to have proper conversations with their fellow travelers. Self-driving cars should have the power to open up interaction through technology, much in contrast to the way technology has generally drawn people’s eyes away from each other and onto a screen.
People will also be able to traverse vast distances because the indefatigable nature of the self-driving car will allow travelers to drive overnight to their destinations effortlessly. The only downside to this would be that highway-side towns with their hotels and restaurants will start to become drive-past towns, much in the way that some cities are seen as fly-over cities now. Still, there’s no denying that vacationers will benefit by getting to their destinations quicker and being able to spend more time there.
I would urge everyone to get a self-driving car as soon as they become reasonably proven and affordable. With the Tesla Model 3 debuting this month at around $35000 as an all-electric car with self-driving capability, the prices are sure to drop in the near future as more companies make their self-driving debuts on the market.