People who refer to a future of ‘self-driving’ cars betray their limited imaginations. Cars which navigate safely without passenger intervention will certainly make our roads safer; experts predict such cars will reduce road accidents by around 90%, resulting in a huge drop in insurance premiums. What is there not to like about this? Smart cars will also bring many other advantages, however, as we describe below.
For starters, all journeys will be controlled, monitored and recorded centrally. Your loved ones and certain accredited third parties will be able to track where you are at any time; this means that your significant other can be sure to prepare your favourite vegan dish in time and have it on the table as you walk in the door!
The smart car will also act as your personal health monitor. As you put on your iSeatbelt, relax in the knowledge that it is fitted with a heart monitor as well as a state-of-the-art blood pressure measuring device. It can also take a blood sample by way of a tiny pin-prick. Any anomalies from this data will be reported directly to your physician and insurance company. In the event of any serious anomalies which need investigating immediately, the iJourney Override in your Smart Car will mean you are directed right away to the nearest hospital. Accredited third parties will also have certain restricted access to the iJourney Override for emergencies of a different kind.
Over time, the Smart Car will get to know you even better than you know yourself! Through reading your emails, listening to your conversations, monitoring your health, learning from the journeys you made etc, it will anticipate all your wants, needs, and deepest desires. It will become literally your best friend. The Atlantic describes a typical journey in your Smart Car:
“You decide you’d like a cup of coffee, and you tell the vehicle so. “Peet’s coffee, half-a-mile away,” it confirms. Peet’s, as it turns out, is a few doors down from Suds Cleaners. The car suggests you pick up your dry cleaning while you’re in the neighborhood. “After work instead,” you say. The car tweaks your evening travel itinerary accordingly.
As we run into Peet’s to grab coffee, the car circles the block. Then, we’re back in the vehicle, en route to your office once again. There’s a lunch special coming up at the vegetarian place you like, the car tells you as we pass the restaurant. With your approval, it makes a reservation for Friday. We ride by a grocery store and a list of sale items appears on the screen. With a few taps, you’ve added them to your existing grocery list. The car is scheduled to pick up and deliver your order this evening.”
Although this sounds to us like the ultimate Utopian dream, there are some of the tin-foil persuasion who cite privacy concerns. This is the ultimate surveillance nightmare, they bleat, as though there was something wrong with the government protecting us! Their concerns about a ‘loss of privacy’ may safely be dismissed out of hand – privacy has long since ceased to exist (although the iPrivacy app – available as an add-on – may include certain privacy features).