We are living in the future

Looks like Amazon is making a deal with Fiat involving self-driving cars.

What is the timeline on self-driving cars? By the end of this year, remote valet assistance will be common. According to BI Intelligence estimates, there will be 231,000 cars shipped with that feature. By 2018, over one million cars are estimated to be sold with highway autopilot including lane-changing. User operated self-driving cars will become increasingly common by 2019. Fully driverless cars are not likely by the end of this decade, but that is mostly due to regulatory delays.

Personally, I cannot wait. I even want self-driving cars more than flying cars. Of course it doesn’t matter to me personally when self-driving cars become possible; it matters to me when they become affordable enough that normal people can buy them. I want them for on the roads for two main reasons:

1. Older people and people with disabilities would gain so much autonomy. Especially in a rural area like where I live, a person who cannot drive suffers a horrible loss of autonomy and freedom. I wish we had self-driving cars right now; my father’s not getting any younger.

2. It is increasingly uncomfortable for me personally to drive longish distances. The back, neck, hip, and knee problems I deal with are (probably) only going to get worse. See point (1) above, as I can easily imagine myself becoming more and more physically constrained over the next decade or two. Being freed to sit in non-driving positions would help so much right now and will only get more important.

3. Lord above, driving is boring. Audio books are a great help, but I would love to have driving time freed up for other activities as well. My own commute is short, but I know people (lots of people) who commute more than an hour to work, and what an appalling loss of time that is.

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