You Do Not Like To Drive

Hello fine readers. It’s been a while. I’ve been busy. I’m sure you
have been as well. I was speaking a few weeks ago at the National Press
Club (fancy, no? actually it really is no…it’s shabby) at an IoT Global
Summit that was full of policy makers and regulators. I was going over a
typical speech I give about the future of autonomous. This future makes
driving a vehicle by a meat puppet illegal. I lay out all regular
reasons:
1. Safety
2. Traffic
3. Environment
4. Out-of-pocket
expenses

And I lay out the alternatives to owning and driving your own car:
1. Municipal buses
2. Robo-taxis, shared or otherwise
3. Branded
subscriptions (Book by Cadillac, just autonomous instead of vehicle valets
delivering your car)

Inevitability, I get push back, which I should. I basically am saying
that you driving your Camry will be illegal. That vehicles driven by meat
puppets will be on private, closed roads. Public roads will be dedicated
to AVs, emergency, and military vehicles only. People hate to be told
they cannot do something.

I usually listen respectfully and maybe offer some alternative ways of
thinking. But the one push back I get that I know is completely misguided
is, “But I like driving.”

You do not like to drive.

Hell, you do not even know how to drive.

Seriously.

Let’s just admit to this now and be done with it.

Plus, you are not even driving. The vast majority of Americans are
rolling forward and braking. We rarely get to push the gas pedal. Bay
Area traffic congestion is up 80% from 7 years ago with average commute
time about half an hour each way (which seems short to me) and speeds
falling below 35 mph for extended periods. Nationwide, commute time is
just under half an hour each way. Commute time in NYC are longer at 35
minutes each way, but most are on public transportation.

My point is, you don’t really like to drive. Look at the best-selling
vehicles this year; three are trucks, three are Toyotas including the
Corolla and the Camry, four are cross-overs. These are not cars people
dream about. These vehicles are not fun to drive. If people really liked
driving, BMW, Audi, and Porsche would sell more small cars, more
convertibles, and more sedans. Anyone driving a truck, an SUV, or a
cross-over does not like to drive. And anyone driving a Prius should just
take the bus. Really. I used to drive a Prius but I’ve come to despise
them on the road. They universally drive slow in the left lane. That is
reason enough to generate serious hatred.

Who wants to drive Highway One in an F-150? Sure would love to hit those
winding roads in a truck with the wind whipping back my hair. Route 66,
your Toyota Camry is calling?! More like an appliance repair man is
calling. These are not fun driving vehicles.

When someone tells me they like to drive I ask them what they drive and
where. Besides being good for a laugh, it is important to think
about…the act of driving.

I would argue that do not like driving. What you do like is being in
control. You like freedom. You like walking outside, knowing your car is
there waiting for you and at the push of the button you can be gone. You
don’t like to plan, to think about it, you just want to get up and go.

It’s the ultimate expression of freedom in this country – hopping in your
car, hitting the open road, being gone, creating a new life anyway, out
west. Whoooooo hooooo! I get it. I totally buy into the vision, the
dream, the possibility.

But it is not reality.

You do not like to wait and you equate that with driving. Because what is
really happening is you go out to your car, you push the button, you take
off and WHAM! You brake. Then you roll forward and you brake. Then
roll. Then brake. Roll. Brake. Roll. Brake. Millions and millions of
us are doing this every day and it’s costing this country upwards of $130
billion each year. That is just the cost of traffic.

Over 40,000 people are dying on our roads with well over 4 million
injured. It is insane.

If you flip this on its head and are willing to wait three minutes for an
AV to pick you up or if you are able to plan just a little to schedule a
car to get you at a set time and location, you can actually get to where
you want to be sooner.

AVs will not only be safer, they will be more efficient. Traffic will
essentially be eliminated by robots knowing how to coordinate with each
other to eliminate delays from random braking and errors in perception.
AVs can safely tailgate and gain reductions in air-drag by platooning.
These are things that humans are not good at, but the robots will
(eventually) be excellent at doing.

The three minutes you wait to get your car will be the only real wait you
will have. You will get to your destination much faster and be
entertained along the way by either real entertainment or by productivity
activities.

I believe in this future. I want this future. If you really think about
it, giving up your Camry will be insanely easy.