Musk: Driving Yourself To Be Outlawed In Future


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When Tesla Ceo Elon Musk talks about the direction that the company and the automobile industry as a whole is moving, we listen. Tesla is among the forefront of electric vehicles and it’s supporting network of charging stations. They are an extremely innovative company, so when Elon Musk recently sat down with Nvidia’s CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, to talk about the future of autonomous vehicles, we were all ears. Details of what was said regarding the future of the autonomous automobile have stirred up the internet, so let’s take a closer look.

Not surprisingly, Elon Musk opens up the conversation stating that autonomous vehicles are “just going to become normal. Like an elevator”, referring to the fact that we used to have elevator operators until we developed better circuitry. Adding on to this he also states that we “may outlaw [people] driving cars, because it’s too dangerous”.  This is the part that has people worried, especially the driving enthusiasts out there.

For a lot of enthusiasts, driving from point A to B isn’t the point; the act of driving in itself is the point. If Mr. Musk is to be believed, then people who actually want to drive will not be allowed to at all. That brings me to my main concerns that in the future, the number of driving enthusiasts will dwindle until we are no more. This sad realization that, although autonomous cars are inevitable, so is the fact that they will be safer in almost every metric than the average driver out there. People can get distracted by any number of things going on in their head and around them while our autonomous counterparts frankly don’t. Through the use of wireless car-to-car communication, each car always knows what the other cars around them are going to do and eliminates the risk of uncertainty of every day driving.

Now don’t get wrong; I am all for autonomous cars if it means that it essentially takes the purpose of personal transportation to another level in terms of efficiency and safety. But, and this is a big but, I am profoundly opposed to the idea that it should be outlawed to drive yourself if you wish. That is taking away a fundamental freedom of enjoying an intimate interaction between man and machine that driving enthusiasts all appreciate. There is sort of this sense of liberty when a driver feels as though the car is an extension of them; an extension that is only felt when in control of how the car behaves, whether that be through steering, shifting, braking, or throttle inputs. Any driving enthusiast can tell you how engaging it is when you hear the howl of an exhaust coming to red line, down shifting into a corner, and balancing the forces of understeer and oversteer with the throttle under their foot and steering wheel in handOn the other hand, the argument can be made that an autonomous car without the need of driver inputs may give the typical commuter the freedom to focus on other things while being chauffeured around town. That argument is probably true for the average person, and I myself think that it does sound delightful not to deal with stop and go traffic, but the right to choose between driving yourself or not should be allowed. I don’t think that I know of a better way of spending my Sunday by spiritedly driving a fun car on a back country road, do you?

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