This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

Going to Los Angeles in a self-driving car


Time-travel to the future with me, and ride along in my self-driving car. You can sit up front near the steering-wheel, I'll be relaxing in the back, maybe watching a movie, or YouTube.

Self-driving cars will be something that people will have to get used to, like when cars were first invented. They will have to share the road with the older technology for a while, and that will make things more complex. When cars were invented, there were still a lot of horses on the road. So, when I get my self-driving car, I know that there will be a lot of clumsy and slow traffic around, and it will take a few years for those to go away.

So in my trip of the imagination, I will go to Los Angeles from Phoenix in about ten years from today. By that time, people will have stopped staring in amazement at self-driving cars (the way they did when the first cars appeared on the road), and it will just be another thing, like Smart Phones. People will probably argue as to whether they prefer the Android version of their self-driving car, or the Apple version. I think I would like an iCar, myself.

My self-driving car will be able to take the high-speed lane this year, which has just been completed. The slower traffic will need to stay to the right, but the self-driving cars will get the dedicated high-speed lane. There won't be speed limits posted, it will be based on road conditions, and the car will decide. Yes, human-driven cars will probably try to use the lane, but the self-driving cars will be able to avoid them, and there will be a hefty fine for the law-breakers. Eventually physical barriers will need to be built, as people tend to make poor decisions about doing things like that.

For me, the best part will be not having to deal with airports. Instead of taking a shuttle to use an airplane to get to Los Angeles, I will be able to simply put my luggage in my car (including my dog!), request the address of my destination, and relax. When I get to LA, I will not need to rent a car or use a shuttle. I will not need to look at schedules, or coordinate times, and if I take off my shoes, it will be just to get more comfortable in my car.

The old-timers will scoff at people who use self-driving cars, the way that they scoffed at people who didn't know how to handle a team of horses in 1915. And there will be a lot of people who will never trust the new technology, the same way that many people never learned to drive, and many people will never use a cell phone.

I can already imagine, in the not-to-distant future, people trying to picture what life must have been like when you had to hold onto a steering wheel, and stare at the road. The old-timers will tell stories of how cars used to crash into each other, how people got hurt, and killed, and the young ones will find it hard to believe. Of course, it will be "the good old days", and movies will show people driving cars the same way that they show people riding horses into town. I'd like to see those movies! But I prefer to live in a time of self-driving cars.

Thanks for riding with me. Hey, we're in LA! Let's go to the beach!