Artist-provocateur Jonathon Keats and Hyundai engineer Ryan AylerIs are challenging the prediction that the driverless car is really our future. They argue that sitting in the back of a self-driving car, going about your business detaches you from the vehicle and its technology - whereas the past has shown that we humans love being engaged and immersed in and with technology, almost as an extension of ourselves much like smartphones have become.
"Thelma and Louise would have felt considerably less liberating with the protagonists sitting idly in the back seat."
There’s an aspect of driving which humans have innately been drawn to since Karl Benz first invented the car. We can probably all relate to at least one movie scene where the heartbroken lead runs tearfully to their car, and accelerates off into the night. It’s in those moments we enjoy the feeling of freedom and escapism that driving affords. But would this feel the same if we’d have called an Uber or sat in the back of our own car telling it where to drive? The act of driving is what many of us find so cathartic. As Keats puts it: "Thelma and Louise would have felt considerably less liberating with the protagonists sitting idly in the back seat."
In my view Keats makes an interesting point. In his opinion we will become similarly connected to the car as we have to our mobile devices. Whilst immersive technology will help achieve this, Keats also wants to see vehicle manufacturers add physical sensory for an even more immersive feeling. Imagine becoming one with your car.
Many companies are investing large sums into driverless car technology. But will this technology alone decide who will win the race? Or will the company which will provide the most immersive driving experience be leading the game in the future? It sure is food for thought.
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