We were in Worcester this weekend for the Saturday afternoon Bob & Zip Show, I do really like this town. Maybe it's sentimental, because our kids were born there. It's also where Twisted Tunes were hatched. And like most cities in New England, it's got some history.
On Saturday I was taken aback as Lisa and I took a stroll across the Worcester Common. There in the center of this picturesque park were two policemen. On horses. It occurred to me that I hadn't seen a horse used as transportation in a big city in, like, never.
Were they there to fight crime? Why horses? Zip informed me that they were called "Mounted Law Enforcement".
I started daydreaming. Imagining a time before my time when your horse was your vehicle. I wondered if there were skeptics who said they'd never trust a horseless carriage? Googled it.
Yup they did.
"You know horses are smarter than people. You never heard of a horse going broke betting on people." -- Will Rogers
It's safe to say that every major invention that reshapes our world is met with skepticism. I have to admit I'm not convinced the self driving car will work. At least not the way a regular car does. There are so many variables.
My 2016 RAV4 has 6 cameras, 3 in front and 3 in back. I never actually noticed them until Friday when Lisa and I were driving to Worcester.
All of the sudden several alarms started going off across my dashboard. WARNING!
*BEEP-BEEP* RADAR CRUISE UNAVAILABLE. CLEAN SENSOR
*BEEP-BEEP* FRONT CAMERA SYSTEM UNAVAILABLE.
*BEEP-BEEP* PRE-COLLISION SYSTEM UNAVAILABLE
*CONTACT YOUR DEALER FOR ASSISTANCE.
Contact your dealer for assistance? I was flummoxed. Am I supposed to pull over and call Toyota? Will they send a drone robot, and can it get here in 5 minutes? Is my car now unsafe?
I pulled over.
It was lightly snowing with temperatures in the mid 30's. I wiped 1/2 inch of slush off the front bumper. The backup cameras, and all the other cameras I'd never noticed before (but relied on for smart cruise control and object avoidance) were rendered useless. They are tiny, and mounted all over both the front and rear bumper.
I wiped them off, and started driving. After only a few minutes they iced up again. This time I laughed. WARNING!
Alerts took over the center screen, led exclamation triangle over the speedometer, and even the GPS/Radio. The urgency of the warnings reminded me of a show I used to watch as a kid.
LOST IN SPACE.
*WARNING, WARNING. DANGER WILL ROBINSON. DANGER!
My car is now a dysfunctional Robot. Stuck in the slush.
A friend and I were just arguing about self driving cars, he texted me after that fatal crash last week. As if to say "I told you so!" Self driving cars will never happen.
You know you can research anything these days.
Two people have died so far in an driverless car. A pedestrian hit by a self driving Uber recently and a Tesla Owner who in July 2016 ignored every warning there was not to let the car drive completely unattended.
He was watching a Harry Potter movie when the vehicle slammed into a truck.
The more things change, the more they stay the same...
So why do we need self driving cars anyway? We've had them for a long time. They are called trains. And even they CRASH and kill people. Did you see the evening news with video of vehicles stuck at train crossings? Trains can't stop.
When I was a kid I took a boat ride at a World's Fair Disney exhibit. You hopped into a little boat on a track in a foot of water and rode around for 15 minutes listening to the incessant chorus of "Its a Small World After All". That was a self driving boat.
Self driving cars seem as far fetched as the IPhone was in the year 2000.
But it doesn't matter whether you believe in them, or even want them. Self driving cars will be the future. Because of the numbers.
As soon as technology advances to the point where autonomous cars are safer than humans we are done driving. For one big reason. Insurance.
Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day. An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled. Ponder that for a second.
9/11 was bad. But fewer people perished on that day than die every single day in an automobile crash. The amount we spent to prevent another terrorist attack was in the trillions. I tried googling it. It's too close to political to trust everything you get, but lowest estimate I could find was a trillion dollars. So I'll go with that.
How much should we spend on prevention so those other 1.3 million people don't die each year? Or do we not care about them because they died doing what they loved?
Watching a Harry Potter movie.
Thanks for reading.
We are up to 284 daily readers, almost fifty new ones since I asked you guys to recommend the Bob's World to people you think might like it.
For new readers I will tell you why I've started writing. I miss trying to come up with something to say that is at least a little different from today's repetitious and often depressing political jabber. And I'm preparing to launch a new podcast and radio show. You'll hear about that here, when the time comes.
Radio Host from age 14 to Present. Currently blogging, planning to launch a new radio show later this year.
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