Daily Archives: April 4, 2015

Science Fiction Today – Driving

DThe rate at which technology changes can be astounding. These changes can be seen in all sorts of places and one of those place is in our cars and how we drive. Already we have cars that are more computer than anything else, meaning that just the way that cars get worked on has changed. The fact that they are more computer has changed the way we drive in certain situations. Already we have cars that can park themselves, that stop if they sense an impending collision, that show an enhanced rearview, and so much more.

There are a lot of advancements on the horizon with how we drive; will it be that driving will be a thing of the past or will there be other advancements beyond the pedals and steering wheel?

Driverless Cars

One of the directions that we see cars going is to actually be able to drive themselves. This would mean that we have cars on the road with no drivers. They have been doing tests with cars that can drive themselves due to being able to sense their surroundings, but the other way this could also work is creating roads that have paths that the car follows.

Is our future, at least for driving, going to be like I, Robot? Image found on http://fourtitude.com/emAlbum/albums/Marques%20%28Audi%20Brand%20Group%29/Audi%20%28Modern%20Era%29/Concept%20Cars,%20Design%20Studies,%20Prototypes/RSQ/I,%20Robot%20%28Movie%20Stills%29/

We have seen both of these type of cars in Minority Report and I, Robot. The cars were able to drive themselves and they did not need a driver to function. The possibilities of what this could provide is really incredible because it could mean less accidents and there would not be a worry of drunk drivers because they would not be driving. The logistics of what a driverless society means are huge, but then the problem is what happens if something does go wrong?

Advanced Vehicle Interaction

Another direction that vehicles could go is changing the way we interact with the vehicle. Over time we have gone from manual to automatic shifting and even have keyless cars. These changes alter the way we interact with the vehicle as a driver. How much further will these advancements take us? Will we be able to program a vehicle to detect specific drivers and only operate with them? And will we change how we interact with vehicles in general?

There are adjustments that they can make to cars to be drivable in alternative ways, now what if alternatives are created that allow everyone to drive differently? Imagine driving without a steering wheel, where you accelerate by thinking about it or pressing buttons, and then the controls for air, music, etc. are all done just by thinking about it. The world of science fiction shows so many different options of how we can operate with machines and those possibilities could easily connect a driver to a car.

Driving is something that is so basic and everyday, but as technology changes so does how we think about those simple things.

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!