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!

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17 responses to “Science Fiction Today – Driving

  1. That I, Robot driving scene is something else! This also made me think of The Fifth Element and all the driving hijinks that ensue there. I think people are going to resist self-driving cars, but who knows what will happen in the next fifty years?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fifth Element was definitely another movie I thought of where with that we are still driving, but they have the systems that automatically keep track of your license. The idea being that a person does not have to catch you doing something your car detects it and automatically deducts the points from your license. The problem with self driving cars are a couple things 1) do we actually trust technology to work and 2) the liability issue. The trust thing is huge as someone who deals with technology and how it can break I don’t know how much faith I have that a car would function correctly all the time. Also, the fact that their are a lot of people who just think things should work, but if certain pieces are not set up correctly they do not.

      The liability issue is more of an insurance thing. If two self driving cars get into an accident with each other who is at fault or if a self driving car gets into an accident with a car that has a driver do we automatically blame the driver even if it is a glitch in the driverless cars programming?

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s an interesting thought on liability. Now that insurers are starting to introduce ways of automatically monitoring your driving, I think liability is going to increasingly be a point of contention. And for self-driving cars? More layers of complication! Thanks for the great discussion on this.

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  2. Roger Zelazny had a short-story (possibly a novella) where people would get into their self-driving cars and just randomly pick coordinates and have the car take them there. It was called a “blindspin” (I think.) Although that might have been the name of a dating activity, where you pick up your date and then just go for a drive (where the car does all the driving.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • The idea of going on a random drive is kind of cool. Although there are certain neighborhoods in certain cities I would want to avoid. At the same time I kind of like the idea of trying out a place that I have never been before. Exploring a new city is such an amazing thing to do and a self driving car could function similarly to a train where you can actually take some time and enjoy the view.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Given a choice, I would have a car like Bumblebee who could come to life and who I could interact with. Other than that, a KIT car would be cool…I’m sure you can see a theme here. I want my car to talk to me šŸ˜‰ As long as it’s not Christine that is!

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  4. I feel like this is already a thing! Have you seen CPGrey’s “Humans Need Not Apply”? The rate at which cars have already developed in this way is astonishing.

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  5. The car’s ability to sense an accident is fascinating, though a bit scary as what if allowing you to be in the accident, would save the life of the driver of the other car? Could a car understand such complications and make decisions based on that? Would the driver (you) then understand that your broken leg that took you out of work for weeks and lost you $$$ was worth it because the other person didn’t die? I can see quite a fuzzy ethics issue in this.

    Though I’d love for self-driving cars–especially living in Seattle. The ability to reduce or eliminate gridlock would be awesome in major metropolitan areas.

    –Raven Oak (SF/F Author)
    You can find me at http://www.ravenoak.net

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  6. A little scary, but very cool at the same time!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: Science Fiction Today – Robots | Comparative Geeks

  8. Chappie’s not far enough in the future to have major changes… In fact it seems terribly easy to steal cars, so there’s no driver identification or anything like that either. In fairness, the AI robots are pretty new, so it’s not totally out of place. It would take a long time to phase out all the traditional cars.

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