Baby boomers and their juniors are less likely to have the need to surrender their car keys due to safety considerations as the generations before them have. It may all become possible thanks to the development and legalization of the use of driverless cars. On Sept. 26, California became the third state, after Nevada and Florida, to legalize using self-driving vehicles.
What Is a Driverless Car?
A driverless car is a car modified to be driven by an on-board computer through the use of a laser scanner and sensors to provide feedback to the computer. The driver inputs information into the computer before setting out and the car does the rest.
Mobiledia reports that Google's self-driven cars have been road-testing since 2010 without an accident. The cars have now logged 300,000 miles -- more hours without an accident than the average American driver.
Availability of Self-Driving Cars
At this time, driverless cars aren't available to the general public. While U.S. News & World Report advises that major automakers are working to develop their own self-driving cars -- those used to pass the three state laws were hybrids developed by Google -- it isn't known when the cars will be available to the mass market.
Price of Driverless Cars
If self-driving cars were to become available the public today, there likely wouldn't be a car loan long enough to allow middle-class baby boomers to buy the high-technology vehicles. The laser scanner alone, key to the cars being able to self-drive, costs $70,000.
WorldCrunch.com offers the caveat that new ideas should not be obstructed by perceived hindrances, but to depend on vision to allow progress to occur. So, even though the cost of a driverless car is cost-prohibitive at this time, companies and the technology should move forward. Society shouldn't suffer the loss of a potential boon due to details; they can be worked out later.
Self-driving cars have the potential to change many concerns in the future: Cars can weigh less because safety is an in-bred feature; the nation will become less dependent on oil; the existing infrastructure won't need to change; and older drivers won't lose their independence like generations past because they had to give up driving.
Smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation, L.L. Woodard is a proud resident of "The Red Man" state. With what he hopes is an everyman's view of life's concerns both in his state and throughout the nation, Woodard presents facts and opinions based on common-sense solutions.