Physics of the Future: Driverless Cars

What I’ve learned from reading Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku:

Let me just say, first of all, I want a driverless car! And I want everyone else to have one too!

It only scares me slightly to have a vehicle going down the road at highway speeds with no one but a computer at the controls. I’d get used to it.

Shortly after reading this section I got stuck in some traffic. Though I live in Cincinnati, my work is not downtown, so I don’t often get in big traffic jams on my way to work. But that day I did, and I just kept thinking about those driverless cars. A driverless car, according to Kaku, would automatically take over in the event of an impending crash or snarled traffic to get through smoothly and efficiently. There wouldn’t be morons waiting for the last second to get over. We would weave together like threads on a loom and continue ahead at a normal pace. No more rubbernecking.

Actually, there could be a lot more rubbernecking, just not at the expense of traffic flow. The driver will be free to do whatever he or she wants. Stare at the mangled mayhem you just avoided. Text like a fiend on the phone. Eat a 5 course dinner. Work on my latest novel. Knit a Cincinnati Reds winter hat. Take a nap. And the car would go all by itself and get us to our destinations smoothly and safely.

Kaku says this reality is not that far off. Like the next 10 years even. That’s around when I plan to need a new car. California just passed a law making driverless cars street legal, so we are on the way, and that is exciting!


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