Driverless Cars: We Can’t Wait!

We recently returned from a trip to San Francisco to visit our daughter and got the chance to ride in the driverless taxis from Waymo, the company owned by Google, which has been operating in San Francisco and Phoenix for the past few years. At first we were skeptical of taking a ride in the cars, which have received some bad press, but Kate (who has been using the service for a number of months) assured us it was perfectly fine. The vehicles, which are electric Jaguar SUVs, make you feel as if you are riding with a luxury limo service. They are clean, quiet, and have leather seats. They also play soft, relaxing music, though you have the option to choose different genres. Most importantly, the Waymos obey the speed limits, always signal when changing lanes, never rush through a yellow light, let alone a red light, and yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. In other words, the Waymos are far safer than human-operated vehicles. The experience made us realize that driverless vehicles, guided by AI, will be commonplace in the not-too-distant future — a future that will make our roads far safer than the carnage that exists today in which more than 40,000 Ameriaans are killed and countless tens of thousands more are severely injured every year thanks to human operators who either are texting-and-driving, under the influence, engaged in road rage, falling asleep at the wheel, inexperienced, too old, blinded by the sun, disobeying the traffic laws, or are just bad drivers. Driverless cars also will have a huge positive financial impact on our society. Auto insurance rates will go down precipitously (especially for young drivers), car repairs caused by accidents will be minimal, health care costs will decline enormously because of the decrease in auto-related injuries, and senior citizens will retain their independence. In short, we have seen the future of cars without human operators — and we can’t wait!

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