America’s reliance on automobiles is causing many cities to experience maddening levels of traffic congestion. I have personally experienced the unending hell that is traffic congestion ins Los Angeles, made all the worse by drivers who insisted on attaching themselves to your bumper. If you’re one of these idiots, you should know that you’re not making things any better by driving up my tail pipe. This only exacerbates the problem, though Honda is working to develop technology to prevent idiot drivers (like you) from making traffic jams worse.
While construction and accidents can constrict traffic flow, the most common reason for backup is bad drivers and bad intersections. As far as drivers go, one person slamming on their brakes during rush hour can cause a chain reaction of cars stopping short, slowing progress or even causing an accident.
Adaptive cruise control is all the rage among high-end car buyers these days, as some systems can gauge the speed of the car based on the car in front. Honda’s system goes a step further by sending information about the driver’s habits to a cloud-based system, which then sends the info back to the driver. The system will then make suggestions on how to conserve fuel based on an analysis of driving habits, as well as communicate with other cars on the same road to help reduce congestion.
For example, if instead of riding the ass of the car in front of you, you allow yourself some room to coast to a slow stop, you can actually make things easier for yourself, and the people behind you. The less you ride your brakes, the less the people behind you have to brake, similar to the way traffic jams start in the first place.
Alas, I fear this sort of common sense thinking is lost on most people, the same that driving and cars have lost their magic.
I still love driving, though these days I doubt many people feel that way. Driving is bothersome and boring for some people, mostly those stuck with relentless, monotonous commutes through congestion every day. Bored drivers make for bad drivers. I pity these people; driving can be an enjoyable when it is just you, the road, and the world around you. But Honda’s system is just the latest step towards a trend of taking the driving away from the driver. Maybe that will give you more time for sightseeing, but for me at least, driving is one of the few times I truly feel “in control” of my immediate destiny. I just point the car, punch the accelerator, and go.
It’s kind of exciting to get to experience this sort of automated automobile future, and sad at the same time. I can’t help but imagine myself sitting in my car, hand on the steering wheel, while the world around me zips by, guided by on-board computers and remote servers.
I look forward to one day being a relic.