We can ponder about the future of the steering wheel or talk about the timeline for autonomous cars actually being commercially viable, but one issue not being discussed is how we have all the technology we need to rescue ourselves from the road-trip bathroom emergency situation.
I think any semi-respectable human being prefers relieving themselves in the comfort of their own home. But there comes a time on road journeys of all distances and intentions where the Korean barbecue, spicy currywurst or overstuffed burrito liquefies into a road-going nightmare before one gets from A to B.
Typically in these situations, especially if there are more than one persons in the car, there is a silent traumatic panic where the victimized party tries to hold back the un-Godly movements of their body’s betrayal while simultaneously blocking the thoughts of the possible consequences of not making it in time.
All while trying to play it cool as the heat of embarrassment, pressure and whatever demonized food baby inside of them rises to sweaty levels as the desperation for anything resembling a private hole in the ground agonizes along.
The biggest issue in this common situation is, of course, the terrifying unknowing-ness when trying to locate a road-side bathroom. “We’ll stop at the nearest gas station,” is typically falsely reassured. Nearest could be in a mile; it could be 20 miles. Beyond finding a restroom is the fear of its state, which is almost always a dungeon that you are sure served as the inspiration for the death cellar from the SAW films.
But we can solve this problem. We have the technology to do it now, and we’re being promised even more capability in just a few short years. We need a bathroom emergency button in our cars.
The bathroom emergency button would of course be to serve those desperate situations involving unholy bowel movements and the resulting winds of hell.
It’s functionality is simple; in the event of an emergency, those affected press the bathroom emergency button and the car immediately re-routes to the closest serviceable restroom.
In an autonomous future, which we’ve been promised could be marketable as soon as 2020, the car uses the navigation and its autonomous capability to inform other cars politely of your situation, whisking you to a quick and effortless release.
The car takes over, the speed increases and other autonomous traffic moves out of the way. Meanwhile, the air conditioning and seat-cooling automatically kicks into full power as a highly-accurate countdown clock reassures you of the few moments remaining before you can perform the necessary exorcism.
Upgraded systems can inform the car of which service stations are heavily occupied, which are “out of order,” and which require you to purchase something in advance—anything to make the experience easier.
Of course most companies currently developing autonomous systems are being very tight-lipped about future capabilities and time-frames, and they may already be well on their way to the advanced features like the one we’ve discussed. If they aren’t, they need to. Our comfortable future is counting on it.