I Wrote a Book About Our Robot Car Future

Illustration for article titled I Wrote a Book About Our Robot Car Future

Friends! Pals! Fellow filthy car-obsessives! I have big news: I have written a book. Just as a refresher, a book is like a bunch of non-dynamic monochrome (in this case, and not the cover) web pages full of text, all bound together in a big sort of paper-sandwich that won’t electrocute you if you drop it in the tub. The book is called Robot, Take the Wheel: The Road to Autonomous Cars and the Lost Art of Driving, and it’s about autonomous cars and the value and joy of non-autonomous cars, and I really hope you’ll like it.

Illustration for article titled I Wrote a Book About Our Robot Car Future

I’d been thinking about writing a book for quite a while, though I had been planning on writing about cars before 1880, because, you know, I like to keep things timely. The publisher, though, had other ideas, and really wanted a book about autonomous vehicles, because, as you know, it’s sort of a big thing right now.


They were right! Autonomous cars are by no means ready yet, which is a good thing, because there’s so many things about them we need to really think about. And that’s pretty much exactly what this book is: me really thinking about the coming of autonomous cars, what that might mean, culturally, car design-wise, ethically, goofily, everything.

The eventual coming of robotic vehicles will be the first real mass public deployment of robots that can crush you into custard ever in human history, so there’s lots to consider there.

Illustration for article titled I Wrote a Book About Our Robot Car Future

Of course, the book also explores why human driving is so amazing, why we don’t always want to be productive all the time, why wandering is important and will be lost with autonomous cars, and lots more.


A bit of the stuff I wrote about originally right here on Jalopnik, but there’s lots more, I promise! And, it’s got a bunch of illustrations I did, a couple of samples I threw in here.

I worked hard on this, and, really, I do hope you’ll find it interesting. I tried to keep it conversational and fun, like I’d cornered you in a diner and am gripping your arm, tighter and tighter, going on and on about robot cars and stuff until you start to feel maybe a little nauseous. That’s the sort of joy I’m hoping my book will impart.


I even managed to con Jay Leno into writing a blurb for the book, because he’s a peach, and Beau Boeckmann, who you may remember from Pimp My Ride and the recent season of Jason Drives, was nice enough to write a foreword.

If you want to buy it, I’ll sweeten the deal: use the promo code HOOPTIE when you check out, and you’ll get 20 percent off, just because you’re Jalopnik readers and my love for you is powerful and dizzying.


If you feel creepy buying from the publisher directly, you can always go through Amazon or whomever you like, but the 20 percent off is just through the Apollo Publishers site.

I’m nervous and excited to hear what you think of the book. I should also mention that the book has a big advantage over my usual writing online in that if you get so disgusted with what I’m saying, flinging what you’re reading it on at a wall in anger will be much less expensive.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

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Could you please please please narrate an audiobook of this? I drive a LOT for work and this would be fantastic.