Why I Can’t Wait for Self-Driving Cars

I am very excited for self-driving cars. I know, many people are leery. I, too, have read Charles Stross and understand that they can be hacked and used as murder weapons. At this point in time, what can’t be hacked? But I digress.

electriccar
About like this, I suspect.

Even with Stross’s visions of mayhem running through my head, I hope self-driving cars get here sooner than later.

My Top Reasons for Wanting Self-Driving Cars

 

  •  Someone Else is the Kids’ Chauffeur – I know, my oldest child is only in kindergarten, and I am already tired of either me or my husband having to cart her all over the place. Dance lessons. Gymnastics. Another birthday party. I can’t believe how much of my life this consumes, and I can’t listen to audio books while she’s in the car. My hope is they can design the cars to recognize faces, let the child into the vehicle, then take them where they are going. Maybe I’m hoping too much, but a parent can dream
danceclass
It’s only cute until the 50th time you’ve sat through it.
  • Lower Cost – If we had self-driving cars, I believe it will only be a matter of time before we’re all scheduling a majority of our trips with a less-rapey version of Uber. While we may still need one car, our second car is used exclusively for my husband’s commute. We could simply schedule that with a self-driving car. One less car is a big deal to the average family when the cost of a new car is almost $34,000. Cars are the second most expensive thing we own after a house.
  • Traffic Rules – I am tired of people not choosing to stop for a stop sign, running red lights, and otherwise not obeying traffic rules. You know who you are red pickup truck that didn’t decide to yield to oncoming traffic. *glares* If we’re all in self-driving cars, this goes away.

 

stopsign
Not sure how much more obvious we can make the sign.

 

  • More Free Time – While my commute is usually less than fifteen minutes each way, my husband has a much longer commute as do a lot of people I know. So while it might not buy me time back a lot of time, it will get my husband more time.
  • No More Distracted Drivers – Drivers can now text or whatever the heck they’re doing on their phones that caused them to be not paying attention to traffic and forcing me to honk at them when they run a stop sign.

I know there are a lot of safety hurdles to self-driving cars, but I’m really looking forward to them. I am hoping the benefits outweigh the costs.

How about you? Like the idea of self-driving cars? Hate it? Why?

Parade of Orange Barrels

It’s that time of year where I live. A parade of orange barrels starts to line our streets in late March or early April. And they continue to haunt us until the snow really takes hold.

Once the parade begins, I try to avoid the road construction as much as possible. Take alternate routes, choose different stores to shop at, or just buy more online.

construction 1

The one thing I have been trying to figure out, though, is why the construction barrels go up weeks before work ever starts. It seems rather silly to block off roads long before the start of road construction. I mean, why snarl and tangle up traffic if there’s no need?

construction3

Of course, this lesson become personal when my main route into work went under construction. Literally, the street right outside the building. I can’t not go to work anymore, and there really are no alternate routes.

So, a stretch of road that used to take less than three minutes to traverse now takes ten. Sometimes more. Yet, we haven’t seen actual work being done. The blocked off section of road looks exactly as it did three weeks ago.

I suppose it’s possible something is happening. I just can’t say what. And as I drive by it every day, I like to think would have noticed.

construction2

Perhaps there was a delay in getting the construction teams out to the site as there has been so much rain. Or perhaps there was a miscommunication as to when the timing of the work starts.

My cynical side, however, remembers my years as an auditor and how construction companies worked. The general contractor doesn’t actually own the barrels. This is usually outsourced to a third party that owns the barrels and is responsible for all of the “signaling” work.

So my cynic is wondering if the company that owned the barrels finished one job and just decided to set up the barrels for the next rather than store them between jobs.

I have to think this is just this my cynic. No way would that be legal, right? Right?!?