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Travel Minute — Why Are We Not Excited About Self-Drive Cars?

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There’s been a lot of publicity about self-drive cars lately as Uber begins testing self-drive cars in Google self driving carPittsburgh, and a similar company continues testing the same in Singapore. 

But I have yet to run into anyone who is enthusiastic about the concept.

I understand if this technology is perfected, fewer people will be injured in car accidents, insurance rates will go down, fuel will be saved, traffic jams might be ameliorated, and we’ll all be able to text as we drive—or are driven—to work.

But it’s all about control.  We don’t want to give it up, even if we’re imperfect at it.  I remember decades ago when I was a young Washington Post reporter and we were told our typewriters were going to be replaced by word processors.  Machines with glowing screens.  No more paper—nothing we could touch. It was darn scary.

And that’s what we face in even a bigger way with the prospect of vehicles that drive themselves.  We want to be driving that car just as Post reporters wanted the security of tangible paper. 

But I bet our kids won’t give it another thought.