Imagine, in a technologically forward world, instead of reaching a nearby set landmark, a driverless Uber or Google car picks you up from your window on the 8th floor, Jetsons style. This is one of the most enticing predictions of the 21st century. But what got the futurists of our century to predict such far-fetched scenarios, it is the development and innovations at present that make us dream bigger. Driverless cars, which currently act as the next wave of innovation or a new phase for technology, have engaged many of us in prophesying the coming 50 years.
Back in 1969, when man first stepped on the moon, or back in 1886, when Karl Benz developed an automobile that runs on Petrol, the world admired these first steps by fellow humans as these moments have changed the course of history and obviously, the way of living. These major leaps motivated our forefathers to think that men could one day land on Mars, or men could drive cars that run on electricity and that is exactly what we are about to achieve in the coming few years. We have made our futurists (elders) proud and the ones before them.
With ride-hailing services adopting new and better ways of commuting, the customer is left with simply two things, Imagination and Anticipation. I, as a customer or user, dream big of driverless, environment-friendly cars reaching the door steps to pick me up without any hassles. Soon the time for hovering cars (without wheels) is going to come around where people don’t just commute on cemented roads, but can fly their cars at different altitudes, or rather the car can do this itself.
Like we have traffic cops at various junctions, we will have cops stationed mid-air, tackling traffic that comes their way from different directions and different levels. We have 4-lane, 5-lane, 8-lane roads, sometime in the future we will have highways that don’t range in their length but range in their heights (various levels in air). Cars driving one above the other seems realistic or am I getting too ahead of myself; maybe not because the change is bound to occur.
This is what we can expect 50-100 years from now, but what about the coming 10-20 years? Not just private organizations but even the government agencies plan to make the economy cashless. Hiring or pooling a car might go completely cashless, there won’t be any need for a human driver in the front seat which is actually happening, and hence no need to carry the cash in pockets. Everything will be set through the means of technology with an ease, wallets are already extensively in use, and bitcoins aren’t too far ahead from us.
The society at present is striving to shift all transactions to a digital level, and similarly commuting too needs a clear and transparent means of exchange. Driverless cars are already the latest rave but are yet to be placed on roads across the globe, though they are on the testing mode at present. The infrastructure for such a luxury is far from ready in India but in the next 5-10 years, we can expect leading metropolitan cities to have an experience of driverless cars on their roads.
Technology has the capability to change our perceptions about our surroundings. Driverless cars will change the course of time and what seems like a luxury today might seem regular then. Hopefully, it will be in the right direction in the righteous manner.
However, there are not so obvious, reasons for why driverless cars would be scary but we need to take all of them with a pinch of salt.