Thanks to Alex Roy, we had a great discussion today on the future of driving as cars become autonomous. It is, I hope, the first of many in-depth looks you’ll read here on the equally scary and exciting future that awaits us.

Here’s one very honest comment I especially liked from that story, from reader javiIn1080p:

Am I the only automotive enthusiast who is actually looking forward to fully autonomous cars? I hate driving purely for commuting, and trust a machine much more than I do the average driver. I want to use my non-autonomous sports car for fun - hooning on a track the same way a horse enthusiast rides a horse for sport, and not for transportation.

I agree, because as we’ve seen recently, too many people mistake commuter culture for car culture. True car culture is not requiring a car to meet all your mobility needs or being stuck in gridlock. If autonomous cars help widen the divide between the two, that’s a good thing.

But reader jasmits pointed out a downside that Roy didn’t mention:

On one hand I agree, driving a manual transmission in traffic(and even an auto) can be tedious, boring and frustrating. However, it still is a period of time every day in which you are not expected to be productive, you aren’t tempted to look at your phone, and you can just sit back and listen to your music and drive, even if driving only consists of trying to stay rolling in second gear without stalling out or putting the clutch in. I like being in my old 3 series. I like the seats, I like the way it smells, I like the way it sounds and it’s something I get to enjoy every day, regardless if I have time for leisure or not. If I was in an autonomous bubble it’d just be another ~hour a day I’m either expected to be working or mindlessly reading articles on my phone and I find that thought distinctly depressing.

This is why I hate wi-fi on airplanes. It used to be a break from the 24/7 workday, now it’s another place where you have to send and receive email. The idea that the car will become a place for that is pretty depressing too.

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Anyway, the future will suck and will also be awesome. Congrats on your COTD wins! Here’s some Knight Rider music.


Contact the author at patrick@jalopnik.com.